A worthy commemoration of a key historical moment, the 75th anniversary of which falls in 2019.

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SOLDIER, SAILOR, FROGMAN, SPY, AIRMAN, GANGSTER, KILL OR DIE

HOW THE ALLIES WON ON D-DAY

Anecdotal history of D-Day, when Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy to liberate Nazi-occupied Europe.

As historian and journalist Milton’s (Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: The Mavericks Who Plotted Hitler’s Defeat, 2017, etc.) busy title suggests, the Normandy landings involved a vast machinery hinging on conditions of weather and tides and the hope that the German enemy would be surprised. In this skillfully woven narrative, the author depicts the complexity of Operation Overlord. In the predawn hours of D-Day, for instance, the operational planning officer had to secure signoffs from several senior commanders involved, which “was more time-consuming than he expected,” especially when the British air marshal began proofreading the orders, “sure that in detail lay victory.” The British meteorologists were cautious, the Americans perhaps too optimistic, but somehow the invasion was launched. Meanwhile, on the German side of the Channel, an observer predicted the landings nearly to the minute only to have his intelligence ignored. When news arrived of massive airborne landings behind the German lines, an argument broke out over whether “the paratroopers were merely liaison parties sent to help the French resistance.” For its part, the Resistance was present and active on the scene, while French civilians rendered aid as they were able—though in one memorable episode, a young French man had to turn over a badly wounded American paratrooper to the Germans in order to get him medical treatment. Milton’s narrative is episodic, much in the spirit of the book that looms over the literature of Overlord, Cornelius Ryan’s Longest Day (1959), populated by near-stock figures like a young American captain who “was a bulldozer of a man, with a thickset face and pronounced nose,” and a British “bruiser built of sinew and muscle” who single-handedly stormed a German bunker, earning a Victoria Cross for his troubles. World War II buffs will be pleased to see the tradition continue here.

A worthy commemoration of a key historical moment, the 75th anniversary of which falls in 2019.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-13492-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Picador

Review Posted Online: Oct. 8, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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

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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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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