An unfocused but deeply felt plea for better treatment of veterans.

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AMERICA'S VETERANS UNITE TO CHALLENGE VA FOR OVERDUE BENEFITS

A Vietnam veteran argues for better health care for veterans and a conservative surge in the 2016 elections.

In this follow-up to Condemned Property? (2013), Trimmer returns to the challenges Vietnam veterans have faced since the 1970s, with particular emphasis on the recent shortcomings of the Veterans Administration. Trimmer draws on his own story—he has clashed with the VA over conditions related to his Vietnam service—and those of other veterans, along with research and news reports, to present a portrait of a system incapable of meeting its users’ needs. The book also includes copies of letters Trimmer sent to government officials, replies he has received from them, and testimonials from readers of Condemned Property? He proposes a number of solutions, including punishment for VA officials, sufficient funding, and supporting Ben Carson’s campaign for the presidency. Although Trimmer gives the president credit for some improvements in the services offered to veterans, his dislike rings clearly, often in strident terms: “If his majesty, Barack Hussein Obama has enough time on his hands”; “If Dr. Ben has decided to enter the brutal presidential election, may God be with this fine gentleman. Too bad he wasn’t out first black President instead of Barack Hussein Obama who is not a great American.” Throughout, Trimmer is explicit about the role he plays—“I am a Christian Crusading Militant who has vowed to remain a soldier for the rest of my life, which means I am prepared to put my life on the line for America...again.” However, the book’s detours into polemic territory are often unfocused and uneven, adding little to the central arguments about the treatment of veterans from Vietnam and more recent wars. Trimmer is at his most successful in moments when his passion and knowledge of the veteran experience combine to make a compelling case for the country’s continuing responsibility to its soldiers.

An unfocused but deeply felt plea for better treatment of veterans.

Pub Date: May 31, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4984-3834-6

Page Count: 340

Publisher: Liberty Hill Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2015

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SLEEPERS

An extraordinary true tale of torment, retribution, and loyalty that's irresistibly readable in spite of its intrusively melodramatic prose. Starting out with calculated, movie-ready anecdotes about his boyhood gang, Carcaterra's memoir takes a hairpin turn into horror and then changes tack once more to relate grippingly what must be one of the most outrageous confidence schemes ever perpetrated. Growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s, former New York Daily News reporter Carcaterra (A Safe Place, 1993) had three close friends with whom he played stickball, bedeviled nuns, and ran errands for the neighborhood Mob boss. All this is recalled through a dripping mist of nostalgia; the streetcorner banter is as stilted and coy as a late Bowery Boys film. But a third of the way in, the story suddenly takes off: In 1967 the four friends seriously injured a man when they more or less unintentionally rolled a hot-dog cart down the steps of a subway entrance. The boys, aged 11 to 14, were packed off to an upstate New York reformatory so brutal it makes Sing Sing sound like Sunnybrook Farm. The guards continually raped and beat them, at one point tossing all of them into solitary confinement, where rats gnawed at their wounds and the menu consisted of oatmeal soaked in urine. Two of Carcaterra's friends were dehumanized by their year upstate, eventually becoming prominent gangsters. In 1980, they happened upon the former guard who had been their principal torturer and shot him dead. The book's stunning denouement concerns the successful plot devised by the author and his third friend, now a Manhattan assistant DA, to free the two killers and to exact revenge against the remaining ex-guards who had scarred their lives so irrevocably. Carcaterra has run a moral and emotional gauntlet, and the resulting book, despite its flaws, is disturbing and hard to forget. (Film rights to Propaganda; author tour)

Pub Date: July 10, 1995

ISBN: 0-345-39606-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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