Red meat for Trump foes and a convincing denunciation of the Republicans’ “win-at-all-costs electoral strategies.”



Fusion GPS founders Simpson and Fritsch enumerate the alleged high crimes and misdemeanors that put Donald Trump in the White House.

It’s clear early on that Fusion GPS, the Washington research and analysis firm headed by former Wall Street Journal staffers Simpson and Fritsch, set itself in opposition to Trump’s run for the presidency. “Many of his traits disqualified him for the job,” they write, “and his political rhetoric was loathsome, but his ties to the criminal underworld, his reliance on hidden flows of Russian money, and his record of chicanery in business topped the list.” Surprisingly, this opposition research was initially funded by a wealthy Republican who was appalled at the prospect of a Trump White House. The Steele dossier soon followed, delivered by a British intelligence agent whose allegations helped limn Trump’s ties to organized crime (including a cabal of Russians allied with the old-school Mafia) as well as financial misdeeds, various scams (Trump University, anyone?), and, most damning of all, willing collusion with Russia in interfering with the 2016 election. The authors carefully lay out their evidence, including charges that are only now coming to light, such as the involvement of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes in many of the proceedings as well as fundraising junkets to places such as Boston and Las Vegas, well outside his California district, “during which Nunes spent more than $130,000 on high-end hotels, meals, and NBA tickets, at the expense of his campaign committees.” Along the way, Simpson and Fritsch, who do not disguise their scorn for Trump and company, explore such milestones as the Trump Tower meeting between Donald Jr. and various Russian enterprises, which they hold might have been a “chicken feed” operation on the part of Russian intelligence. They also explore some of the flaws in the still-unfolding investigations into Trump, from Robert Mueller’s reticence to James Comey’s apparent incompetence.

Red meat for Trump foes and a convincing denunciation of the Republicans’ “win-at-all-costs electoral strategies.”

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-593-13415-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2019

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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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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

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


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

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