The book fluctuates among impassioned legal brief, indictment of systemic criminal justice flaws, and touching family saga.

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STEALING OUR DEMOCRACY

HOW THE POLITICAL ASSASSINATION OF A GOVERNOR THREATENS OUR NATION

The former governor of Alabama recounts how he went to prison for a bribe he never offered and why Republicans targeted him before he could open a campaign to seek the presidency.

Siegelman (b. 1946) has been largely successful in his political life. During his distinguished career in his home state, he served as secretary of state, attorney general, lieutenant governor, and then governor, in 1998. Seeking reelection in 2002, the author lost narrowly because of what he claims was vote-counting fraud by Republicans. “We had been robbed but there was nothing to be done,” he writes. “Republicans insisted the results were accurate, and many newspapers supported them. The longer this went on, the more likely it was that public opinion would turn against me.” Because Republicans still feared his electoral prowess, Karl Rove and other Republican operatives concocted corruption charges, complete with witnesses willing to commit perjury. A prosecutor brought the charges to trial in front of a biased judge, and a guilty verdict ensued. After describing that event, Siegelman offers a chronological account of his treatment as a federal prisoner, temporary release from prison due to an appeal and an influential 60 Minutes segment, and soul-crushing return to prison when politically motivated, dishonest prosecutors refused to drop the case permanently. Siegelman is convincing with his detailed allegations against Rove as well as the complicity of Jeff Sessions, who went on to become a senator and then attorney general under Donald Trump. Before being released to home confinement in 2017—and since—Siegelman was tireless in advocating for prison reform, finding ways to limit the powers of corrupt prosecutors, and ameliorating the school-to-prison pipeline that negatively affects nonwhite and low-income communities disproportionately.

The book fluctuates among impassioned legal brief, indictment of systemic criminal justice flaws, and touching family saga.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-58838-429-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: NewSouth

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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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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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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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: Feb. 16, 2020

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