An engagingly written mix of research, reportage, and memoir, infused with the passion of discovery.

THE TURTLE'S BEATING HEART

ONE FAMILY'S STORY OF LENAPE SURVIVAL

A poet and professor comes to terms with her Native American heritage.

Though many tribes have been better able to sustain a collective identity—whether on a reservation or through perpetuation of their legacy—Low (Jackalope, 2015, etc.) never knew much about her Delaware (Lenape) heritage when she was growing up in Kansas. When the Delaware “sold” Manhattan to the Dutch in 1626, many of them dispersed in various directions, sometimes in different clans (“Wolf, Turkey, and Turtle”), but they retained no sustained tribal identity. Low’s mother rarely acknowledged that bloodline and showed disfavor toward the daughter who so resembled her grandfather. “Discrimination against Native people has been so fierce that many people, like my family, suppressed their identity with non-Europeans as completely as possible,” she writes. “Some black Cherokees chose to identify with African Americans because it was easier.” As the former poet laureate of Kansas and a dean at the Haskell Indian Nations University, she found herself traveling around the state, hearing stories from those with similar backgrounds. She became even more curious about the legacy that seemed lost, the history her family never spoke about, the one it had tried to hide, to marry above, to leave dead in the past. “This process has healed me,” she writes, allowing her to deepen the sort of relationship with her mother that they’d never had when the latter was living, to discover just how much in common she had with her grandfather, and to realize how those earlier had suffered at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan and discrimination in general. “The story of my grandfather and my mother has become my own, as my past grows longer than my future,” she writes.

An engagingly written mix of research, reportage, and memoir, infused with the passion of discovery.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8032-9493-6

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Bison/Univ. of Nebraska

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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