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AND HELL FOLLOWED WITH HER

CROSSING TO THE DARK SIDE OF THE AMERICAN BORDER

A sweeping account of some of the major players in the Minuteman Project, though the ambitious narrative occasionally...

A scouring investigation of the unorthodox methods of the anti-immigration Minuteman Project.

Journalist Neiwert (The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right, 2009, etc.) probes the underworld of anti-immigration vigilante justice. Beginning with the murder of a drug trafficker and his family in an Arizona border town, the author reveals that neither a rival drug gang nor illegal immigrants were responsible for the crime, but rather, members of the Minuteman Project themselves. The narrative soon expands outward, tracing the tangled web of circumstances that led America’s so-called anti-immigration defenders down a murderous path. Featuring a complex assortment of characters and an occasionally difficult-to-follow storyline, Neiwert examines the various routes men and women took to becoming Minutemen. As he proves, not all were motivated by unrelenting patriotic fervor or xenophobic tendencies; economic prospects, as well as the desire to restart otherwise unremarkable lives also played a part. These motives were particularly important for Shawna Forde, a beautician-turned-vigilante extremist who took part in the aforementioned murders. A lifetime of swindling and petty theft prepared her for the ultimate crime. As Neiwert reports, Forde’s personality likely predisposed her for her actions, or at least her involvement in the Minutemen organization. “What movements like the Minutemen most offer psychopaths like Shawna Forde is the opportunity to remake themselves into their own hyperinflated view of themselves as Heroes with a capital H,” he writes,” “all without the hard work, sacrifice, and dedication that usually comprise the foundations of real heroism.” Forde never received her hero status; her cowardly crimes caught up with her in the Arizona courtrooms in 2011.

A sweeping account of some of the major players in the Minuteman Project, though the ambitious narrative occasionally becomes unfocused.

Pub Date: March 26, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56858-725-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Nation Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2013

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WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

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

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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. 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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