INADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE

THE STORY OF THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN TRIAL LAWYER WHO DEFENDED THE BLACK LIBERATION ARMY

Any analysis of the American black experience demands close attention to both the political and the personal, and this extraordinary memoir by Williams—the country's first African- American trial lawyer—offers just that, as well as making a noteworthy contribution to recent American legal history. Williams—a child of Depression-era N.Y.C.—tells how youthful visits to the segregated South shaped her passion for justice, while ambitious parents shaped her belief that she need not submit to injustice. Not surprisingly, she chose a career in social work, becoming a Children's Court probation officer: In her first major case, she contended with the political pressures of placing the children of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Soon weary of bureaucratic manipulations, and in order ``to center my life,'' Williams pursued a legal career, managing to build a practice in poverty law—this at a time when there ``were so few black lawyers'' (not to mention black women lawyers) that there ``wasn't any effort to count them.'' In the early 70's, the author took on her most important case, defending her niece, Assata Shakur, ``leader'' of the Black Liberation Army. It's obvious from Williams's discussion of this case that she loves legal work: Her words glow with the fire and intensity of the period. With the legal and the political inextricably linked during Shakur's trials, the author shows how frustrating, and often futile, defending the poor and other non- mainstream groups can be—especially, in her case, while burdened with finding a balance between concerned aunt and objective legal strategist. Moreover, after Shakur's escape, Williams had to contend with wiretaps, character assassination, and other aspects of the FBI's counterintelligence program. Now semiretired, she's reached the same conclusion ``that Assata reached a long time ago: direct action by the people is the only hope for change.'' A necessary companion to Assata Shakur's Assata (1987)—and a boon to anyone seeking to understand the force of law from a lawyer's perspective.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1993

ISBN: 1-55652-183-9

Page Count: 239

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1993

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

more