A rah-rah effort that will appeal to fans of military histories and those who have close contact with the courageous...

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FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY

WHAT OUR VETERANS CAN TEACH US ABOUT CITIZENSHIP, HEROISM, AND SACRIFICE

An upbeat book about contemporary military veterans, the men and women of America who are “brave enough to assume the ultimate risk so that others could live.”

Starbucks chairman and CEO Schultz (Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life Without Losing Its Soul, 2011, etc.) and Washington Post senior correspondent and associate editor Chandrasekaran (Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan, 2012, etc.) provide case studies of combat heroism and of individuals returning from recent foreign invasions who have contributed to the building of a better society in the United States. The book's release is tied to Schultz's initiative to hire more military veterans at Starbucks and to generally raise awareness of how surviving veterans can serve their nation in classrooms, medical facilities and other institutions. In a relentlessly optimistic narrative, which is certainly inspiring at points, Schultz and Chandrasekaran avoid almost all mention of female soldiers who are sexually assaulted, of returning veterans who murder innocent civilians, and other commonly told dark case studies. Schultz demonstrates the enthusiasm of a converted zealot—he never served in the military, had no close friends or family who had served recently, and had never spent significant time with soldiers or their family members. That changed after he visited Lewis-McChord and other military bases and sought the counsel of high-profile warriors, including former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, “one of our country’s most distinguished public servants.” The many case studies and interviews will certainly move readers who have served in the military, as well as other highly patriotic Americans. Though fervent anti-war readers will find much of the narrative overly positive and even naïve, the case studies are mostly well-reported and often feature individuals who have been unsung until now.

A rah-rah effort that will appeal to fans of military histories and those who have close contact with the courageous soldiers who put their lives on the line.

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1101874455

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

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WHY WE'RE POLARIZED

A sharp explanation of how American politics has become so discordant.

Journalist Klein, co-founder of Vox, formerly of the Washington Post, MSNBC, and Bloomberg, reminds readers that political commentators in the 1950s and ’60s denounced Republicans and Democrats as “tweedledum and tweedledee.” With liberals and conservatives in both parties, they complained, voters lacked a true choice. The author suspects that race played a role, and he capably shows us why and how. For a century after the Civil War, former Confederate states, obsessed with keeping blacks powerless, elected a congressional bloc that “kept the Democratic party less liberal than it otherwise would’ve been, the Republican Party congressionally weaker than it otherwise would’ve been, and stopped the parties from sorting themselves around the deepest political cleavage of the age.” Following the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, many white Southern Democrats became Republicans, and the parties turned consistently liberal and conservative. Given a “true choice,” Klein maintains, voters discarded ideology in favor of “identity politics.” Americans, like all humans, cherish their “tribe” and distrust outsiders. Identity was once a preoccupation of minorities, but it has recently attracted white activists and poisoned the national discourse. The author deplores the decline of mass media (network TV, daily newspapers), which could not offend a large audience, and the rise of niche media and internet sites, which tell a small audience only what they want to hear. American observers often joke about European nations that have many parties who vote in lock step. In fact, such parties cooperate to pass legislation. America is the sole system with only two parties, both of which are convinced that the other is not only incompetent (a traditional accusation), but a danger to the nation. So far, calls for drastic action to prevent the apocalypse are confined to social media, fringe activists, and the rhetoric of Trump supporters. Fortunately—according to Klein—Trump is lazy, but future presidents may be more savvy. The author does not conclude this deeply insightful, if dispiriting, analysis by proposing a solution.

A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4767-0032-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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