A book of justifiably righteous indignation at—and condemnation of—a monstrous program.

NBC News and MSNBC correspondent Soboroff takes a piercing look at a controversial immigration policy.

Separating migrant minors from their families has been a hallmark of the current administration—and, writes the author, “an unparalleled abuse of the human rights of children.” His narrative begins in June 2018 in Brownsville, Texas, where he toured a former Walmart that had been converted into a “shelter” to house some 1,500 migrant boys, many of them caught with their families trying to enter the U.S. By virtue of the administration’s vaunted “zero tolerance” policy, these children represent what Soboroff calls “an avoidable catastrophe.” His sketches of the detention centers are consistently affecting and haunting. As he noted at the time, “this place is called a shelter, but effectively these kids are incarcerated.” The policy of separation was foreshadowed in Trump’s blustery rhetoric during the 2016 campaign—but more by his lieutenant Stephen Miller, who loudly voiced “vitriol for undocumented immigrants.” It was up to Homeland Security head Kirstjen Nielsen to enact it, even after she was warned that family separations would constitute a violation of the constitutional principle of fair treatment. Miller’s faction won the day, and family separation became policy. Startlingly, when a federal judge ruled against the policy and ordered the government to reunite detained families, Customs and Border Patrol admitted that it had planned to separate “more than 26,000 children between May and September 2018” alone. Naturally, the administration has denied the policy even as, Soboroff notes, the principals involved who remain in the administration are now the very people who are coordinating the government’s bungled response to COVID-19. And even though the policy has theoretically been terminated by executive order, thousands of migrant children are still detained in tent cities and other facilities across the border, in some cases without their families for years.

A book of justifiably righteous indignation at—and condemnation of—a monstrous program.

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299219-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Custom House/Morrow

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020


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

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


A clearly delineated guide to finally eradicate poverty in America.

A thoughtful program for eradicating poverty from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Evicted.

“America’s poverty is not for lack of resources,” writes Desmond. “We lack something else.” That something else is compassion, in part, but it’s also the lack of a social system that insists that everyone pull their weight—and that includes the corporations and wealthy individuals who, the IRS estimates, get away without paying upward of $1 trillion per year. Desmond, who grew up in modest circumstances and suffered poverty in young adulthood, points to the deleterious effects of being poor—among countless others, the precarity of health care and housing (with no meaningful controls on rent), lack of transportation, the constant threat of losing one’s job due to illness, and the need to care for dependent children. It does not help, Desmond adds, that so few working people are represented by unions or that Black Americans, even those who have followed the “three rules” (graduate from high school, get a full-time job, wait until marriage to have children), are far likelier to be poor than their White compatriots. Furthermore, so many full-time jobs are being recast as contracted, fire-at-will gigs, “not a break from the norm as much as an extension of it, a continuation of corporations finding new ways to limit their obligations to workers.” By Desmond’s reckoning, besides amending these conditions, it would not take a miracle to eliminate poverty: about $177 billion, which would help end hunger and homelessness and “make immense headway in driving down the many agonizing correlates of poverty, like violence, sickness, and despair.” These are matters requiring systemic reform, which will in turn require Americans to elect officials who will enact that reform. And all of us, the author urges, must become “poverty abolitionists…refusing to live as unwitting enemies of the poor.” Fortune 500 CEOs won’t like Desmond’s message for rewriting the social contract—which is precisely the point.

A clearly delineated guide to finally eradicate poverty in America.

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 9780593239919

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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