A prescient discussion of one of the darkest issues facing America today.

ALT-AMERICA

THE RISE OF THE RADICAL RIGHT IN THE AGE OF TRUMP

An alarming, well-researched account of how the far-right extremist underground became empowered in the era of Trump.

Journalist Neiwert (Of Orcas and Men: What Killer Whales Can Teach Us, 2015, etc.) takes a long view, noting how “most Americans did not realize that far from going extinct, these groups had been growing and flourishing in recent years.” To explain this, he returns to the 1990s, “when the radical right first began to try to mainstream itself as a ‘patriot’ and militia movement.” The author documents how mainstream conservatives helped legitimize such groups while purportedly staying aloof from their bigotry. Simultaneously, a profitable right-wing media juggernaut fed the incivility and provided a constant stream of propagandistic viewpoints, barely checked following movement-related atrocities like the Oklahoma City or Olympics bombings. While militia culture declined during the Bush years, 9/11 ramped up a “nativist backlash…[alleging] that ‘white culture’ was under attack in the form of this ‘invasion’ of brown faces speaking foreign tongues.” As Neiwert notes, Barack Obama’s presidency unified the racist right and mainstream conservatism; their denial of his legitimacy inspired the “Birther” movement and, ultimately, Trump’s campaign. Concurrently, seemingly trivial online episodes like the misogynist “Gamergate” video game controversy were unifying disparate factions in the alienated, intolerant “Manosphere,” communicating through raunchy memes that normalized racism. The author further examines the rise of a young, media-savvy generation of online white supremacists and “academic racists,” who connected with Trump’s coded appeals to racial grievance. Ultimately, “the interrelated but often disputatious spheres occupied by the followers of these ideologies were united by Donald Trump.” The author documents a great deal of violence, committed by those influenced by the universe of bigoted conspiracy theory through which he guides readers. He writes in a clear, cool fashion, aware that this shameful political tale may signal a “potentially dangerous proto-fascist” future, the subject of his epilogue.

A prescient discussion of one of the darkest issues facing America today.

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-78663-423-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Verso

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

  • National Book Award Winner

  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more