Admirers of scrupulous entrepreneurship will find much of value in this book.

READ REVIEW

THE BONANZA KING

JOHN MACKAY AND THE BATTLE OVER THE GREATEST RICHES IN THE AMERICAN WEST

Spirited life of the 19th-century capitalist John Mackay (1831-1902).

Mackay was born in Dublin, moved with his family to the notorious Five Points neighborhood of Manhattan to flee famine at home, and saw his share of human misery. He knew how to get out of it, working endlessly, especially after his father died when he was 11. Though, as Crouch (China’s Wings: War, Intrigue, Romance, and Adventure in the Middle Kingdom During the Golden Age of Flight, 2012, etc.) writes, his existence years after relocating to the California gold fields “was every bit as hand-to-mouth as it had been when he stepped off the boat in San Francisco.” That would change when, in partnership with other hardworking Irish immigrants, he developed the company that would work the Comstock Lode and eventually strike the biggest gold bonanza of the era, in the bargain funding the Union Army during the Civil War and turning San Francisco into a world center of finance and commerce. Money did not change him, once it came into his hands: Mackay was a “man of few indulgences, and fewer words.” Indeed, he was notably fair to his workers, notably generous, and notably free of scandal even if he did like a good scrap from time to time. “He missed having an enemy,” Crouch writes of the mature, moneyed Mackay. “The one he’d decided to make might have been the most formidable private individual on earth—Jay Gould.” Though formulaic, Crouch’s life of Mackay adds materially to the economic history of California and Nevada. It’s a sturdy work of business history as well, full of useful pointers on how to treat people and build an enduring legacy and fortune. As Crouch notes, when Mackay died, the former tenement dweller was “one of the world’s richest men” even though he probably didn’t have even a ballpark idea of his financial worth.

Admirers of scrupulous entrepreneurship will find much of value in this book.

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-0819-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

OPEN BOOK

The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

Did you like this book?

more