Startlingly prescient words from a moral crusader during a perilous time.

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MY BATTLE AGAINST HITLER

FAITH, TRUTH, AND DEFIANCE IN THE SHADOW OF THE THIRD REICH

The edited journals of a fearless anti-Nazi philosophy professor and theologian in Munich reveal exceptionally brave activism and resistance.

A young convert to Catholicism, von Hildebrand (1889-1977) was the son of the neoclassical German sculptor Adolf von Hildebrand and grew up in Italy before studying philosophy at the University of Munich, where he became a professor in 1919. In this memoir, written in the late 1950s and substantially edited and translated by Crosby and the team at the Hildebrand Project, he recounts his increasingly outspoken views about the rise of Nazism, which he believed was fundamentally opposed to Christianity. In his chronicles from 1921 to 1937, he delineates his growing alarm at the rise and violence of the Nazis and their tenets of nationalism, militarism, collectivism and anti-Semitism—views he openly expressed at conventions among his fellow Catholic theologians, who were frequently on the side of appeasement and collaboration. After Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch of 1923, von Hildebrand was horrified to realize that “Bavaria had fallen into the hands of criminals,” and he also expressed what he saw as a deeply anti-aesthetic ideology of the Nazis: “a flat, gloomy and incredibly trivial world, a barren and ignorant mindset.” At the time, von Hildebrand’s students were impressed by his “intuitive power,” yet once Hitler became chancellor in January 1933, von Hildebrand realized he could not stay in Germany without making moral compromises. With his wife and son, he fled to Vienna, where he cultivated relationships with like-minded leaders such as Engelbert Dollfuss, the Austrian chancellor who resisted the Anschluss and agreed to help von Hildebrand start an anti-Nazi journal devoted to “the battle against antipersonalism and totalitarianism.” From Vienna, he and his family eventually fled to Toulouse, France, then New York in 1940. Crosby also includes several of von Hildebrand’s stringent essays from the 1930s.

Startlingly prescient words from a moral crusader during a perilous time.

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 2014

ISBN: 978-0385347518

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Image/Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: today

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A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

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WHY WE'RE POLARIZED

A sharp explanation of how American politics has become so discordant.

Journalist Klein, co-founder of Vox, formerly of the Washington Post, MSNBC, and Bloomberg, reminds readers that political commentators in the 1950s and ’60s denounced Republicans and Democrats as “tweedledum and tweedledee.” With liberals and conservatives in both parties, they complained, voters lacked a true choice. The author suspects that race played a role, and he capably shows us why and how. For a century after the Civil War, former Confederate states, obsessed with keeping blacks powerless, elected a congressional bloc that “kept the Democratic party less liberal than it otherwise would’ve been, the Republican Party congressionally weaker than it otherwise would’ve been, and stopped the parties from sorting themselves around the deepest political cleavage of the age.” Following the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, many white Southern Democrats became Republicans, and the parties turned consistently liberal and conservative. Given a “true choice,” Klein maintains, voters discarded ideology in favor of “identity politics.” Americans, like all humans, cherish their “tribe” and distrust outsiders. Identity was once a preoccupation of minorities, but it has recently attracted white activists and poisoned the national discourse. The author deplores the decline of mass media (network TV, daily newspapers), which could not offend a large audience, and the rise of niche media and internet sites, which tell a small audience only what they want to hear. American observers often joke about European nations that have many parties who vote in lock step. In fact, such parties cooperate to pass legislation. America is the sole system with only two parties, both of which are convinced that the other is not only incompetent (a traditional accusation), but a danger to the nation. So far, calls for drastic action to prevent the apocalypse are confined to social media, fringe activists, and the rhetoric of Trump supporters. Fortunately—according to Klein—Trump is lazy, but future presidents may be more savvy. The author does not conclude this deeply insightful, if dispiriting, analysis by proposing a solution.

A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4767-0032-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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