Illuminating history and a convincing case that Israel’s drift toward illiberalism has led to further divisiveness.



The long, complicated history of the U.S. government’s official “indulgence” of Israel, featuring dissenting voices left and right.

“America’s generosity to Israel is literally unparalleled, not only in U.S. history, but in the history of any nation,” writes Alterman, a contributor to the Nation and author of Lying in State: Why Presidents Lie—And Why Trump Is Worse, among other titles. Despite legendary recalcitrance by Israeli leaders regarding conceding to Palestinian or U.S. demands, Israel “has always been able to count on the unswerving support of the U.S. government.” Yet the author systematically reveals how that support is not “monochromatic.” The seemingly limitless emotional support for Israel galvanized after the Six-Day War has dwindled since, as Israeli politics moved rightward and instigated increasingly harsh treatment of Palestinians in occupied areas. “The image of the Israeli David fighting off the Arab Goliath—memorialized in the enormously popular 1958 book and 1960 movie Exodus—was more misleading than illuminating,” writes the author, “but it lived on as a tool for Israel’s supporters in the debates they faced.” Alterman explores the early internal struggles of the Zionist movement and founding of Israel and the leaders’ relationships with different American presidents. Since the 1960s, each has tried to fashion his own Middle East success story, culminating in Donald Trump’s ambitious, misguided attempts to curry favor with fellow right-wing leader Benjamin Netanyahu. The author employs rich contextual social and media history to reveal the lively intellectual discussions over the decades among the various factions, pro- or anti-Israel—e.g., the furor that burst forth when then–U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Patrick Moynihan denounced the “Zionism is Racism” resolution in the U.N. in 1975. In the final chapter, Alterman delves into the deep disaffection that now exists among American Jews, especially young people, regarding policy involving Israel and the U.S.

Illuminating history and a convincing case that Israel’s drift toward illiberalism has led to further divisiveness.

Pub Date: Nov. 22, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-465-09631-2

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Basic Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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A fond remembrance of a glamorous, bygone era.


A follow-up to the bestselling Mrs. Kennedy and Me.

Teaming up again with his co-author (now wife) on previous books, Hill, a distinguished former Secret Service agent, remembers his days traveling the world as Jacqueline Kennedy’s trusted bodyguard. After John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, Hill received a medal for valor in protecting the president and his wife, Jackie, from Lee Harvey Oswald’s bullets. Later, the medal vanished along with photos of the author's travels with Mrs. Kennedy as a Secret Service bodyguard. Hill recounts how his search for an old award he never wanted yielded an even greater treasure: forgotten images of his globe-trotting adventures with the first lady. The photographs—some in color, some in black and white—immediately transported the bewitched author back to the glittering heyday of Camelot. Images of Jackie in Paris brought memories of the president’s first major state excursion to France, in 1961, where the otherwise very private first lady was “the center of all attention.” Numerous other diplomatic trips followed—to England, Greece, India, Pakistan, and across South America. Everything Jackie did, from visiting ruined temples to having lunch with Queen Elizabeth, was headline news. Hill dutifully protected her from gawkers and paparazzi not only on public occasions, but also more private ones such as family retreats to the Amalfi Coast and the Kennedys’ country home in Middleburg, Virginia. In three short years, the never-romantic bond between the two deepened to a place “beyond friendship” in which “we could communicate with each other with a look or a nod….She knew that I would do whatever she asked—whether it was part of my job as a Secret Service agent or not.” Replete with unseen private photos and anecdotes of a singular relationship, the book will appeal mostly to American historians but also anyone interested in the private world inhabited by one of the most beguiling but enigmatic first ladies in American history.

A fond remembrance of a glamorous, bygone era.

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-982181-11-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.



Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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