Despite the presumptuous title, this is a serious analysis, designed to inform and to provoke discussion and action.

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WHAT WOMEN WANT

AN AGENDA FOR THE WOMEN'S MOVEMENT

A thoroughly researched examination of the progress women in the United States have made toward gender equality and of the problems that still must be addressed.

Rhode, the director of the Stanford Center on the Legal Profession, is the author of numerous books on gender and the law (Lawyers as Leaders, 2013, etc.). Here, she takes a broad view, looking first at the status of the women’s movement, probing the question of why the movement seems to have stalled and why women are reluctant to label themselves feminists. She finds that there appears to be a leadership vacuum, lack of coordination among women’s groups with different agendas, and fragmentation based on race, class and sexual orientation. The author’s interviews with women leaders prompt her to look closely at specific issues, including work, family, reproductive rights, violence and economic security, with a sideways glance at the subject of physical appearance, a seemingly minor but important issue. In the final chapter, “The Politics of Progress,” Rhode explores the question of how to create support for needed public initiatives. For that, she writes, a strong women’s movement is essential, and perhaps surprisingly, she reports that the presence of such a movement is a stronger predictor of the advancement of women’s rights policies than the proportion of women in legislatures. She cites research indicating that party affiliation is more important than gender—she notes the difficulties faced by moderate Republican women wanting to influence their party’s position on gender-related issues—and she urges women to support those candidates, male or female, who will advance women’s interests. Rhode sums up with a listing of the significant challenges facing the women’s movement if it is to become an effective agent for change.

Despite the presumptuous title, this is a serious analysis, designed to inform and to provoke discussion and action.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-19-934827-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

ECONOMIC DIGNITY

Noted number cruncher Sperling delivers an economist’s rejoinder to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Former director of the National Economic Council in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the author has long taken a view of the dismal science that takes economic justice fully into account. Alongside all the metrics and estimates and reckonings of GDP, inflation, and the supply curve, he holds the great goal of economic policy to be the advancement of human dignity, a concept intangible enough to chase the econometricians away. Growth, the sacred mantra of most economic policy, “should never be considered an appropriate ultimate end goal” for it, he counsels. Though 4% is the magic number for annual growth to be considered healthy, it is healthy only if everyone is getting the benefits and not just the ultrawealthy who are making away with the spoils today. Defining dignity, admits Sperling, can be a kind of “I know it when I see it” problem, but it does not exist where people are a paycheck away from homelessness; the fact, however, that people widely share a view of indignity suggests the “intuitive universality” of its opposite. That said, the author identifies three qualifications, one of them the “ability to meaningfully participate in the economy with respect, not domination and humiliation.” Though these latter terms are also essentially unquantifiable, Sperling holds that this respect—lack of abuse, in another phrasing—can be obtained through a tight labor market and monetary and fiscal policy that pushes for full employment. In other words, where management needs to come looking for workers, workers are likely to be better treated than when the opposite holds. In still other words, writes the author, dignity is in part a function of “ ‘take this job and shove it’ power,” which is a power worth fighting for.

A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7987-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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No one’s mind will be changed by Karl’s book, but it’s a valuable report from the scene of an ongoing train wreck.

FRONT ROW AT THE TRUMP SHOW

The chief White House and Washington correspondent for ABC provides a ringside seat to a disaster-ridden Oval Office.

It is Karl to whom we owe the current popularity of a learned Latin term. Questioning chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, he followed up a perhaps inadvertently honest response on the matter of Ukrainian intervention in the electoral campaign by saying, “What you just described is a quid pro quo.” Mulvaney’s reply: “Get over it.” Karl, who has been covering Trump for decades and knows which buttons to push and which to avoid, is not inclined to get over it: He rightly points out that a reporter today “faces a president who seems to have no appreciation or understanding of the First Amendment and the role of a free press in American democracy.” Yet even against a bellicose, untruthful leader, he adds, the press “is not the opposition party.” The author, who keeps his eye on the subject and not in the mirror, writes of Trump’s ability to stage situations, as when he once called Trump out, at an event, for misrepresenting poll results and Trump waited until the camera was off before exploding, “Fucking nasty guy!”—then finished up the interview as if nothing had happened. Trump and his inner circle are also, by Karl’s account, masters of timing, matching negative news such as the revelation that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election with distractions away from Trump—in this case, by pushing hard on the WikiLeaks emails from the Democratic campaign, news of which arrived at the same time. That isn’t to say that they manage people or the nation well; one of the more damning stories in a book full of them concerns former Homeland Security head Kirstjen Nielsen, cut off at the knees even while trying to do Trump’s bidding.

No one’s mind will be changed by Karl’s book, but it’s a valuable report from the scene of an ongoing train wreck.

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4562-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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