An entertaining story of the curious arc that brought the cannabis industry out of the shadows.

THE NEW CHARDONNAY

THE UNLIKELY STORY OF HOW MARIJUANA WENT MAINSTREAM

The complicated story of how marijuana went from back alleys to a multibillion-dollar American industry.

In Geek Girl Rising (2017), former ABC news correspondent Cabot spotlighted successful professional women in the male-dominated tech industry. Here, she applies the same investigative reporting skills to the now-mushrooming cannabis industry, producing an intriguing, character-driven narrative about “a complicated and controversial topic.” Wisely, the author focuses on primary figures who have not only profited from this new enterprise, but changed the culture around the substance as well—e.g., Beth Stavola, a Jersey Shore mother who attained wealth in the Arizona medical marijuana business; Wanda James, the first Black entrepreneur to own a business license in the cannabis industry; Bruce Linton, the founder of the first marijuana company to trade publicly; and Mel MacDonald, “former U.S. Attorney appointed by President Ronald Reagan, fifth-generation Mormon, elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), and unexpected supporter of legalizing medical marijuana.” Perhaps the most interesting figure is Jeff Danzer, a home cook who has sought to match the various flavors and aromas of cannabis to a wide variety of dishes as well as distilling the plant down its purest, most delectable essences. Danzer created cuisine so delightful that Kate Hudson served up his treats at her star-studded birthday party, and he eventually earned the nickname “Julia Child of Weed.” Another prominent figure is Ted Chung, a Wharton alum who leads Snoop Dogg’s cannabis investment strategy. On stage in 2019, Snoop noted, “I love the fact that I used to be a bad guy known for smoking weed like you used to read about me….Now it’s all love and it’s all peace and all understanding.” Indeed—and Cabot covers much of the relevant territory, from entrepreneurship to women’s health to social justice.

An entertaining story of the curious arc that brought the cannabis industry out of the shadows.

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984826-24-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Currency

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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A lovely, sometimes challenging testament to the universality of human nature.

HUMANS

The creator of the hit internet series Humans of New York takes it global, chasing down a panoply of interesting stories.

In 1955, Edward Steichen staged a show called “The Family of Man,” a gathering of photographs that emphasized the commonality of humankind. Stanton’s project seemingly has much the same ambition. “You’ve created this magic little corner of the Web where people feel safe sharing their stories—without being ridiculed, or bullied, or judged,” he writes. “These stories are only honestly shared because they have a long history of being warmly received.” The ask is the hard part: approaching a total stranger and asking him or her to tell their stories. And what stories they are. A young Frenchwoman, tearful, recounts being able to see things from the spirit world that no one else can see. “And it’s been a very lonely existence since then,” she says. A sensible teenager in St. Petersburg, Russia, relates that her friends are trying to be grown-up, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, whereas she wants to remain a child close to her parents: “I’d like these times to last as long as possible.” A few stories are obnoxious, as with a Dutch incel who has converted himself into a pickup artist and outright cad: “Of course it’s manipulation, but why should I care? I’ve been manipulated so many times in my life.” A great many stories, some going for several pages but most taking up just a paragraph or two, are regretful, speaking to dashed dreams and roads not taken. A surprising number recount mental illness, depression, and addiction; “I’d give anything to have a tribe,” says a beleaguered mother in Barcelona. Some are hopeful, though, such as that of an Iranian woman: “I’ve fallen in love with literature. I try to read for one or two hours every day. I only have one life to live. But in books I can live one thousand lives.”

A lovely, sometimes challenging testament to the universality of human nature.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11429-7

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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A solid work of investigation that, while treading well-covered ground, offers plenty of surprises.

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PERIL

An account of the last gasps of the Trump administration, completing a trilogy begun with Fear (2018) and Rage (2020).

One of Woodward and fellow Washington Post reporter Costa’s most memorable revelations comes right away: Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calling his counterpart in Beijing to assure him that even after Jan. 6 and what Milley saw as an unmistakable attempt at a coup d’état, he would keep Trump from picking a war with China. This depiction has earned much attention on the talking-heads news channels, but more significant is its follow-up: Milley did so because he was concerned that Trump “might still be looking for what Milley called a ‘Reichstag moment.’ ” Milley emerges as a stalwart protector of the Constitution who constantly courted Trump’s ire and yet somehow survived without being fired. No less concerned about Trump’s erratic behavior was Paul Ryan, the former Speaker of the House, who studied the psychiatric literature for a big takeaway: “Do not humiliate Trump in public. Humiliating a narcissist risked real danger, a frantic lashing out if he felt threatened or criticized.” Losing the 2020 election was one such humiliation, and Woodward and Costa closely track the trajectory of Trump’s reaction, from depression to howling rage to the stubborn belief that the election was rigged. There are a few other modest revelations in the book, including the fact that Trump loyalist William Barr warned him that the electorate didn’t like him. “They just think you’re a fucking asshole,” Barr told his boss. That was true enough, and the civil war that the authors recount among various offices in the White House and government reveals that Trump’s people were only ever tentatively his. All the same, the authors note, having drawn on scores of “deep background” interviews, Trump still has his base, still intends vengeance by way of a comeback, and still constitutes the peril of their title.

A solid work of investigation that, while treading well-covered ground, offers plenty of surprises.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982182-91-5

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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