Firsthand knowledge of what many have already suspected about the American intelligence community’s methods.

THE INTERROGATOR

AN EDUCATION

From a 27-year CIA veteran, a thoroughly documented insider’s view of illegal activities undertaken on the “dark side” of the global war on terror.

As an experienced CIA spy, Carle came to the conclusion that there was a major disconnect between the White House’s Global war on terror and the reality he experienced. In the aftermath of 9/11, he was assigned to interrogate a suspected top al-Qaeda terrorist. He details the battles which followed, at least as much as possible under the conditions of CIA censorship—black boxes in the text indicate the work of Agency redactors. At the beginning, Carle was asked what he would do if he was required to violate not only the letter of the law, but also his own standards of honor and duty. Previously acquired interrogation skills led to him to the conclusion that his prisoner was not the man his captors believed him to be. He was neither a leader of al-Qaeda nor someone who possessed useful information about terrorism. Nonetheless, Carle’s conclusions were of no effect against the process that was underway. This was only one incident that the author considers indicative of a pattern of the CIA and the White House ignoring evidence that conflicted with the official policy narrative. By the end of the assignment, Carle was questioning how the United States had been reduced to such utter lawlessness. He believes there are still remedial steps that need to be taken to address what he calls a self-created problem of narrow perspective, hyped threats and deluded perceptions. Among them, he advocates the formation of a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” similar to the one legislated into existence by the South African parliament after the end of apartheid.

Firsthand knowledge of what many have already suspected about the American intelligence community’s methods.

Pub Date: July 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-56858-673-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Nation Books

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2011

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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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