A relevant, occasionally eye-opening collection of Q&As on race and privilege.

POLICE BRUTALITY AND WHITE SUPREMACY

THE FIGHT AGAINST AMERICAN TRADITIONS

Candid conversations about race and policing with key figures in media, sports, and social justice movements.

Activist and former NBA player Thomas follows up his 2018 interview collection, We Matter, with Q&As informed by the turmoil of 2020 and 2021, with a similar assortment of interviewees: athletes (Isiah Thomas, Steph Curry, Breanna Stewart), media figures (Yamiche Alcindor, Jake Tapper), and family members of Black men killed or brutalized by police (Willie McCoy’s brother, Rodney King’s daughter). The prompts for discussion include George Floyd, defunding the police, the January insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and the intersection of White supremacy and evangelical Christianity. The overall tone of the interviews is skeptical and dissatisfied with the lack of systemic change despite growing media attention. When Thomas tells the son of Black Panther Fred Hampton that “after Trump, Biden was a breath of fresh air,” he snaps back, “I still ain’t breathing.” The sharpest rhetoric comes from activist and broadcaster Marc Lamont Hill, who pushes against softening the phrase “defund the police,” likening it to shifting from abolishing slavery to “reform the plantation.” Trumpism, most of Thomas’ interlocutors agree, is just a more visible manifestation of White supremacy that’s been part of American life from the start. Though the intensity and relevance of the conversations are clear, especially with members of victims’ families, Thomas rarely sees his role as more than teeing up his interviewees to share experiences or familiar talking points, which blunts the overall impact. That's why his Q&A with entrepreneur and NBA team owner Mark Cuban stands out: Thomas actively challenges Cuban to use his wealth and position to extract meaningful change from police and fellow team owners, and Cuban’s earnest but evasive replies reveal just how steep the challenge is. Other interviewees include Sue Bird, Rex Chapman, Chuck D, and Jemele Hill.

A relevant, occasionally eye-opening collection of Q&As on race and privilege.

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63614-056-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Edge of Sports/Akashic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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A refreshingly candid, fearless look into a model’s body of work and its impact on her identity and politics.

MY BODY

The international model embarks on a nuanced investigation of her body and identity.

Ratajkowski’s exploration of fame, self-identity, and what it means to be a “beautiful” woman is surprisingly engaging. Originally thrust into the spotlight in 2013 due to her scantily clad appearance in the music video for Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” the author eventually became known for her stances about beauty and sexuality and how they are commodified. Now that she is a wife and mother, she writes, “I feel a tenderness toward my younger self. My defensiveness and defiance are palpable to me now. What I wrote and preached then reflected what I believed at the time, but it missed a much more complicated picture. In many ways, I have been undeniably rewarded by capitalizing on my sexuality….But in other, less overt ways, I’ve felt objectified and limited by my position in the world as a so-called sex symbol.” This short book includes the juicy tidbits that avid celebrity-memoir readers seek, and the author shares how she really felt about the video shoot and how the aftermath affected her. Beyond that, the book is a reflective coming-of-age-in-the-industry tale, a story that is never maudlin but contains a few thick, murky sections. Ratajkowski attempts to break down the construction of her identity and sexuality in relation to the ever present male gaze as well as her relationships with the women in her life. The charm of this book lies in the author’s largely relatable writing, which shows the complex emotions and confusion of a young woman experiencing her sexual development and maturation into a capable adult. Admitting that the “purpose of the book is not to arrive at answers, but honestly to explore ideas I can’t help but return to,” Ratajkowski grapples directly with a host of thorny issues.

A refreshingly candid, fearless look into a model’s body of work and its impact on her identity and politics.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-81786-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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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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