A wide-ranging history of a tangled campaign—catnip for politics junkies.

BATTLE FOR THE SOUL

INSIDE THE DEMOCRATS' CAMPAIGNS TO DEFEAT TRUMP

A carefully structured account of the many moving parts that turned the Democratic Party into a resistance movement against Trump.

Barack Obama, writes Atlantic lead political correspondent Dovere, “never understood why people disliked [Hillary] Clinton so much. He could also never get over how bad a campaigner she was.” He didn’t do much to help in her campaign until it was too late. Somehow Trump managed to squeak by her even as Obama finally told aides, “do you really want a psychopath sitting at that desk?” and ordered them to do something to get that message through to voters. Yet, Dovere writes, there was a certain continuity to a vote for Obama in 2008 and a vote for Trump in 2016: Both were outsiders running a populist campaign, if of very different dispositions. Obama tried to guide Trump to effectiveness after the election, suggesting that he “make a few patches to Obamacare and call it Trumpcare” and warning him not to hire Michael Flynn, whose Russian connections were already well known. Trump ignored the advice. His intransigence emerged early, moving Nancy Pelosi to challenge his claim that he had won the popular vote. Trump was great for Obama, Dovere notes, retrospectively erasing the errors he made in office, while resistance to Trump soon became marching orders for party stalwarts. Some of the newsworthy items in this book: Clinton contemplated running again in 2020 only to conclude that if she did, Bernie Sanders would be the guaranteed candidate. She hoped instead for a deadlocked convention by which the Democrats would call her back by acclaim. It was to the Democrats’ good fortune, Dovere suggests, that Trump was so inept, especially with respect to the pandemic, and that the Republican Party “was defining itself as the check against America’s changing.” That America was changing seems to have eluded them all, leaving Trump a loser “on the biggest stage of his life.”

A wide-ranging history of a tangled campaign—catnip for politics junkies.

Pub Date: May 25, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984878-07-6

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A lucid, astute text that unpacks the myths of Russian history to help explain present-day motivations and actions.

THE STORY OF RUSSIA

An expert on Russia delivers a crucially relevant study of a country that has been continuously “subjected to the vicissitudes of ruling ideologies.”

Wolfson History Prize winner Figes, one of the world’s leading authorities on Russian history and culture, shows how, over centuries, Russian autocrats have manipulated intertwined layers of mythology and history to suit their political and imperial purposes. Regarding current affairs, the author argues convincingly that to understand Putin’s aggressive behavior toward Ukraine and other neighboring nations, it is essential to grasp how Russia has come to see itself within the global order, especially in Asia and Europe. Figes emphasizes the intensive push and pull between concepts of East and West since the dubious founding of Kievan Rus, “the first Russian state,” circa 980. Russia’s geography meant it had few natural boundaries and was vulnerable to invasion—e.g., by the Mongols—and its mere size often required strong, central military control. It was in Moscow’s interests to increase its territorial boundaries and keep its neighbors weak, a strategy still seen today. Figes explores the growth of the “patrimonial autocracy” and examines how much of the mechanics of the country’s autocracy, bureaucracy, military structure, oligarchy, and corruption were inherited from three centuries of Mongol rule. From Peter the Great to Catherine the Great to Alexander II (the reformer who freed the serfs) and through the Bolsheviks to Stalin: In most cases, everything belonged to the state, and there were few societal institutions to check that power. “This imbalance—between a dominating state and a weak society—has shaped the course of Russian history,” writes the author in a meaningful, definitive statement. Today, Putin repudiates any hint of Westernizing influences (Peter the Great) while elevating the Eastern (Kievan Rus, the Orthodox Church). In that, he is reminiscent of Stalin, who recognized the need for patriotic fervor and national myths and symbols to unite and ensure the oppression of the masses.

A lucid, astute text that unpacks the myths of Russian history to help explain present-day motivations and actions.

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-2507-9689-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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