A frank, significant look at how the proliferation of foreign military bases has “helped lock us inside a permanently...

BASE NATION

HOW U.S. MILITARY BASES ABROAD HARM AMERICA AND THE WORLD

America’s seldom thought of, and largely misunderstood, military outposts around the globe are brought into sharp relief.

The idea that it costs more than $100 billion each year to maintain the United States’ roughly 800 military installations spread throughout the world is easy enough to grasp, and there are many who will say that the hefty price tag is well worth the cost. However, Vine (Anthropology/American Univ.; Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia, 2009) effectively argues that the true costs of all those bases—whether euphemistically called FOBs, lily pads, or a host of other monikers—encompass a lot more than what is in Uncle Sam’s wallet. Ostensibly meant to protect American security at the close of World War II, Vine demonstrates how both the rationale behind the rise of U.S. military bases abroad and their implementation run counter to many closely held American ideals. Readers on the left will be particularly chagrined to learn that liberal lion Franklin Roosevelt orchestrated a plan that regurgitated and repackaged old-time colonialism in the name of national security. The author also illuminates the series of forced evacuations, expulsions, and evictions that devastated whole societies all across the Pacific, Latin America, and beyond, and he shows how little the government had learned after the Trail of Tears 100 years prior. Citizens could still wave the flag and extoll democratic principals here at home, but Vine further demonstrates how they did so oblivious to the autocrats that continued to fill the upper tiers of the American military. The powers that be may have successfully swept many previous sins under the carpet in the wake of World War II, but according to Vine, continuing to maintain U.S. military bases around the world doesn't make any sense in a post–9/11 world.

A frank, significant look at how the proliferation of foreign military bases has “helped lock us inside a permanently militarized society that in many ways has made all of us less safe and less secure.”

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-169-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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

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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

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