A vivid, behind-the-scenes peek into the business of politics.


The White Guy In The Room


A lawyer looks back on his long career of campaigning at the local, state, and national levels.

In this debut memoir, Patton recounts decades of his political work for Democrats. Raised on a farm in “nearly pristine white” Iowa, he became a traveler in Europe, a ski bum in Colorado, and a college and law school student at the University of Iowa. After helping his father get elected as an Iowa state senator, Patton went on to join many other Democratic campaigns across the country, from city council races in Connecticut to presidential primaries in California. He learned practical political skills, such as voter targeting, advance work, and encouraging people to “vote more than once” in straw polls. In the nation’s capital, he volunteered for the Washington Urban League and joined in organizing the 1968 Poor People’s March. In 1970, he helped Walter Fauntroy become the District of Columbia’s first congressional representative in a century. Patton continued to campaign for African-American candidates in D.C., even helping ex-mayor Marion Barry win an election after the politician’s release from prison. He also did union work for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees in New York and set up a lobbying firm. Over the course of this memoir, the author mixes with such political notables as Hubert Humphrey, Ed Muskie, and Barack Obama. Overall, it’s an entertaining account of politics in modern America. The book’s title is misleading, though, as only part of it involves Patton’s work with African-American candidates; it also devotes a lot of space to white candidates and his personal life. A few statements may seem patronizing, such as, “From time to time, when things hadn’t gone his way, [Barry] had pointed the accusatory finger at white people. I would chuckle, knowing that when the full and objective story of the city’s political development was told, white folks would have a major role.” Also, Patton and others breathe “sigh[s] of relief” so often that they seem to risk hyperventilation. However, the author’s anecdotes do provide insights into the realities of American politicking in a pleasantly conversational style. This isn’t a tell-all, but Patton certainly tells enough to give readers a salty taste of politics and of the sometimes-corrupting power of money—although it may make it harder to agree that “electioneering is a noble cause.”

A vivid, behind-the-scenes peek into the business of politics.

Pub Date: June 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9975284-0-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Patton Corporation

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2016

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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.


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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