Essential reading for anyone interested in the facts of the Benghazi attacks and in the future of a definitively troubled...




A searing tale of violence, chaos, and unintended consequences in post-Gadhafi Libya.

Partisan outbursts aside, the Benghazi uprising of Sept. 11, 2012, which resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, was a development that was bound to happen. By the account of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace senior fellow Wehrey (Sectarian Politics in the Gulf: From the Iraq War to the Arab Uprisings, 2013), the American government had been tinkering in Libyan affairs for a long time, nominally shoring up the Gadhafi regime while funding groups opposed to it. Finally, when the dictator was overthrown and executed a little less than a year before the Benghazi attack, the door was opened to a resistance led by the Islamic State group, allowing it “to establish its strongest branch outside Iraq and Syria.” IS has been a destabilizing element ever since, and no amount of American intervention has been able to quell the chaos. Reporting on the ground, the Arab-speaking author looks at some of the players in the post-Gadhafi nation, including Gen. Khalifa Haftar and the Islamic scholar Aref Ali Nayed, who impressed U.S. diplomats with PowerPoint-driven agendas for rebuilding Libya until he got around to asking for weapons: “the specter of Iraqi dissident Ahmed Chalabi and his personal militia, the Iraqi National Congress, leapt to mind.” In 2015, Wehrey writes, American special forces entered Libya to assess the militias they had engaged with during the time of the revolution only to discover that “the roster of players had changed completely.” Even with the author’s careful guidance, readers will need a score card to keep up with this shifting cast and its various aims. For the moment, though, this careful account of the Benghazi attack itself, the central episode in this capable book, is as good as there is, untangling a complex storyline while taking care not to descend into finger-pointing.

Essential reading for anyone interested in the facts of the Benghazi attacks and in the future of a definitively troubled region.

Pub Date: April 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-374-27824-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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


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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