A vital investigation for this election year—and far beyond.




A two-time Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist attempts “to answer the question of whether a ‘deep state’ exists in America.”

Rodhe, an executive editor of the New Yorker website, examines where the conspiratorial term originated and how the Trump administration has consistently undermined checks-and-balances efforts in order to create its own “parallel, shadow government.” The term, coined by Peter Dale Scott in The Road to 9/11 (2007) to designate nefarious plans by foreign authoritative governments, was appropriated by Trump and associates to mean underhanded attempts by a “policy elite” (primarily the State Department, FBI, and CIA) to sabotage and delegitimize his election and government. Is there really a deep state, or is it an effort by the Trump administration to spread disinformation and distrust of government, a tactic that has been effective in shoring up his conservative base? Rohde agrees that Americans are justified in distrusting the government during periods of scandal and outrageous misconduct, and the author systematically walks through those cases, chronicling violations of citizens’ privacy, from the Cold War to Watergate to trumped-up evidence for Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction. On one hand, Rohde continually returns to the success of the Church Committee’s (1975) unprecedented bipartisan efforts to expose early governmental abuses and suggest recommendations that, over time, created new congressional intelligence committees to monitor and check the CIA and other agencies. On the other hand, the author reveals how the “imperial presidency,” thwarted during the Nixon administration, has steadily creeped back in place thanks to work by Attorney General William Barr and others, causing a veritable “collapse of Congressional oversight” that found its apotheosis in the impeachment and acquittal of Trump. Throughout his immaculately researched work, Rohde inserts the career stories of “good civil servants,” including many of the officials who testified in the impeachment hearings. As this revelatory book shows, the deep state, which now incorporates such nonelected loyalists as Rudy Giuliani, Sean Hannity, and Barr, has become the government itself.

A vital investigation for this election year—and far beyond.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-324-00354-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Dramatic, immersive, and wanting—much like desire itself.


Based on eight years of reporting and thousands of hours of interaction, a journalist chronicles the inner worlds of three women’s erotic desires.

In her dramatic debut about “what longing in America looks like,” Taddeo, who has contributed to Esquire, Elle, and other publications, follows the sex lives of three American women. On the surface, each woman’s story could be a soap opera. There’s Maggie, a teenager engaged in a secret relationship with her high school teacher; Lina, a housewife consumed by a torrid affair with an old flame; and Sloane, a wealthy restaurateur encouraged by her husband to sleep with other people while he watches. Instead of sensationalizing, the author illuminates Maggie’s, Lina’s, and Sloane’s erotic experiences in the context of their human complexities and personal histories, revealing deeper wounds and emotional yearnings. Lina’s infidelity was driven by a decade of her husband’s romantic and sexual refusal despite marriage counseling and Lina's pleading. Sloane’s Fifty Shades of Grey–like lifestyle seems far less exotic when readers learn that she has felt pressured to perform for her husband's pleasure. Taddeo’s coverage is at its most nuanced when she chronicles Maggie’s decision to go to the authorities a few years after her traumatic tryst. Recounting the subsequent trial against Maggie’s abuser, the author honors the triumph of Maggie’s courageous vulnerability as well as the devastating ramifications of her community’s disbelief. Unfortunately, this book on “female desire” conspicuously omits any meaningful discussion of social identities beyond gender and class; only in the epilogue does Taddeo mention race and its impacts on women's experiences with sex and longing. Such oversight brings a palpable white gaze to the narrative. Compounded by the author’s occasionally lackluster prose, the book’s flaws compete with its meaningful contribution to #MeToo–era reporting.

Dramatic, immersive, and wanting—much like desire itself.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4516-4229-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.


Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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