The underlying point of the book is that Bush/Cheney were right in invading Iraq and waterboarding prisoners. Let the reader...

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IN MY TIME

A PERSONAL AND POLITICAL MEMOIR

George W. Bush's vice president speaks—sort of.

Cheney is a company man through and through, a servant of Republican functionaries from the time of LBJ to the recent past—if there is anything to be learned from this bloodless memoir, it is that. The author opens with the outrage of 9/11, in which one thought was foremost on his mind, apart from clearing the sky of planes: namely, “guaranteeing the continuity of a functioning United States government.” In this, he writes, he was the essential element without which that continuity was unsustainable. Cheney’s memoir is political to the extent that he plays the games of hardball politics with everyone he meets, and he makes sure to constantly remind readers of American supremacy and his centrality to it. Colin Powell was his ally until his taste for the war in Iraq weakened, whereupon it was clear to Cheney that Powell had to go. Ditto Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld. Cheney’s take on the world is clinical and even scholarly, much like that of Henry Kissinger (another figure whom Cheney does not seem to regard very highly). He is methodical but selective, as when he carefully accounts for his holdings in a certain corporation at the time of his vice presidency: “This was salary that I had already earned, so it was due to me whether the company was doing well or badly.” The company, Halliburton, did well, of course, thanks to no-bid contracts in Iraq—but Cheney still professes irritation that anyone should doubt his clean hands, an irritation expressed by an infamous F-bomb on Capitol Hill (“It was probably not language I should have used on the Senate floor, but it was completely deserved”).

The underlying point of the book is that Bush/Cheney were right in invading Iraq and waterboarding prisoners. Let the reader be the judge—until, that is, history decides on the matter.

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4391-7619-1

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Threshold Editions/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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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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  • New York Times Bestseller

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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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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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