A cleareyed, highly personal view of a dark chapter in American history.




The Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist places his father at the center of an absorbing history of American political and cultural life in the 1940s and ’50s.

Elliott Maraniss was a journalist and newspaper editor from the time he was a student stringer for the New York Times to his last executive position at Madison, Wisconsin’s Capital Times. Famed Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee called him “a great editor.” Maraniss (Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story, 2015, etc.), an associate editor at the Washington Post, praises his father as “inspirational, level-headed, and instinctive about a good story.” His long career, though, was derailed and undermined by the Red Scare. In 1952, he was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee after an informant named him as a communist. Elliott attested to his patriotism: He had enlisted in the Army after Pearl Harbor and rose to become a captain, leading an all-black company—the military was segregated—and receiving an honorable discharge. Nevertheless, HUAC’s accusations were not unfounded: Elliott, along with his wife and brother-in-law, had been members of the Communist Party, dissenters, the author writes, “who believed the nation had not lived up to its founding ideals in terms of race and equality.” Frustrated, “they latched onto a false promise and for too long blinded themselves to the repressive totalitarian reality of communism in the Soviet Union.” Drawing on considerable archival sources, family letters, and his father’s articles, essays, and editorials, Maraniss creates a sensitive portrait of a man who was “young and brilliant and searching for meaning”; whose leftist political perspective was never at odds with his patriotism; and whose optimism never failed him as he confronted considerable professional obstacles. FBI investigations led to his being fired repeatedly. He uprooted his family to five different cities in the five years after his HUAC appearance until he landed a job in Madison and, with a changing political climate, finally was free of persecution.

A cleareyed, highly personal view of a dark chapter in American history.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7837-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.


The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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