An altogether sobering look at a system of punishment founded on racial injustice and going strong.

FOREVER PRISONERS

HOW THE UNITED STATES MADE THE WORLD'S LARGEST IMMIGRANT DETENTION SYSTEM

“Immigrant detention today is part of a carceral landscape in the United States that includes more than 2 million citizens behind bars.” So writes historian Young in a sweeping survey of the American gulag.

The U.S. has the largest imprisoned population in the world; it also has the world’s largest number of imprisoned foreigners. These are not coincidences, writes the author. Immigration and penal policy have always been thoroughly racialized. Nor is it an accident that the next-highest number of imprisoned foreigners are in Mexico—not because Mexico is especially hostile to immigrants, but “because almost all of those detentions are at the behest of the United States.” The Obama administration retains the record for the largest number of arrests and deportations of foreigners, but add in the number kept from reaching this country due to Mexican interdiction and deportation and the number of detainees in secret CIA prisons and prisons run by proxies elsewhere, and the number might be larger still today. Young centers on immigration policy over the last century to deliver surprising lessons from history. “Foreign policy is always part of the calculus of immigration control,” he writes, but it is during times of “heightened fear” and alarm that the greatest excesses are committed. It is well known, for instance, that Japanese Americans were imprisoned as suspected enemy aliens during World War II, but it will come as news to many readers that the U.S. coordinated with allied nations such as Peru to kidnap Japanese nationals and bring them to American prison camps. In another case study, Young examines a deportee and long-term prisoner who was housed in an insane asylum, a convenient place to tuck away problem cases. More recent prison activity for both citizens and foreigners hinges on “tough on crime” policies that have mostly been aimed at minority populations, especially “black and brown men.”

An altogether sobering look at a system of punishment founded on racial injustice and going strong.

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-19-008595-7

Page Count: 280

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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A solid work of investigation that, while treading well-covered ground, offers plenty of surprises.

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PERIL

An account of the last gasps of the Trump administration, completing a trilogy begun with Fear (2018) and Rage (2020).

One of Woodward and fellow Washington Post reporter Costa’s most memorable revelations comes right away: Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calling his counterpart in Beijing to assure him that even after Jan. 6 and what Milley saw as an unmistakable attempt at a coup d’état, he would keep Trump from picking a war with China. This depiction has earned much attention on the talking-heads news channels, but more significant is its follow-up: Milley did so because he was concerned that Trump “might still be looking for what Milley called a ‘Reichstag moment.’ ” Milley emerges as a stalwart protector of the Constitution who constantly courted Trump’s ire and yet somehow survived without being fired. No less concerned about Trump’s erratic behavior was Paul Ryan, the former Speaker of the House, who studied the psychiatric literature for a big takeaway: “Do not humiliate Trump in public. Humiliating a narcissist risked real danger, a frantic lashing out if he felt threatened or criticized.” Losing the 2020 election was one such humiliation, and Woodward and Costa closely track the trajectory of Trump’s reaction, from depression to howling rage to the stubborn belief that the election was rigged. There are a few other modest revelations in the book, including the fact that Trump loyalist William Barr warned him that the electorate didn’t like him. “They just think you’re a fucking asshole,” Barr told his boss. That was true enough, and the civil war that the authors recount among various offices in the White House and government reveals that Trump’s people were only ever tentatively his. All the same, the authors note, having drawn on scores of “deep background” interviews, Trump still has his base, still intends vengeance by way of a comeback, and still constitutes the peril of their title.

A solid work of investigation that, while treading well-covered ground, offers plenty of surprises.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982182-91-5

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 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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