A shrewd history of the fight to convey and repress objective truth.

THE PRESIDENTS VS. THE PRESS

THE ENDLESS BATTLE BETWEEN THE WHITE HOUSE AND THE MEDIA--FROM THE FOUNDING FATHERS TO FAKE NEWS

Conflict between presidents and the press has erupted throughout America's history.

National Humanities Medal winner Holzer, a noted authority on Lincoln and the Civil War and director of the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College, offers a lively, impressively well-grounded view of the relationships of 19 presidents with the journalists who covered them. As the author portrays them, presidents often felt threatened by the press but could not resist following the news. More or less, they sought to manipulate their own narratives; when they failed, they lashed out in anger. Caught “in the crosshairs of the press,” Washington did not stoop to respond while Jefferson, “buffeted by violent newspaper criticism throughout his presidency,” raged in “anti-press fury.” Manipulating the press during war obsessed some presidents: Lincoln became a harsh censor of news in order to control coverage of Civil War casualties. Similarly, when America entered war in 1917, Wilson “entirely shut himself off from the press corps, limiting its access to news of the war’s horrors, stifling criticism of American participation,” and “flooding the press and public with government propaganda.” Some naturally gregarious presidents treated journalists like friends. Teddy Roosevelt, for example, won reporters’ admiration “through the sheer force of his ebullient personality and his unrestrainable eagerness to share news, gossip, and sometimes even secrets.” Franklin Roosevelt invited reporters to garden parties. Holzer notes a profound change in reporters’ attitudes toward outing personal information—e.g., an “unwritten rule” prevented them from mentioning FDR’s disability. But after Nixon’s scandals, reporters became convinced “that only relentless press oversight could keep leaders honest and the republic safe.” Holzer astutely examines how several presidents made use of new technologies to disseminate their messages: FDR on radio, JFK on television, Obama on social media—and, of course, Trump on Twitter. Trump’s successor, Holzer asserts, will face a press emboldened to reassert its power.

A shrewd history of the fight to convey and repress objective truth.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4526-4

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

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

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 15

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 Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

more