An admiring but realistic account of an American hero well suited to any WWI buff.

THE YORK PATROL

THE REAL STORY OF ALVIN YORK AND THE UNSUNG HEROES WHO MADE HIM WORLD WAR I'S MOST FAMOUS SOLDIER

A military historian delivers a new biography of one of the best-known American doughboys.

Alvin York (1887-1964) won the Medal of Honor for his actions on Oct. 8, 1918, when, “it was said, he single-handedly killed two dozen Germans, captured 132 more, and nabbed thirty-five machine guns to boot.” Nelson, the author of three previous books about America’s role in World War I, notes that “York was not alone that day.” Of a 17-man patrol that went out that morning, 11 returned alive with the prisoners; only York went down in history. His exploits occurred when the patrol moved behind enemy lines, where they stumbled upon a German unit preparing for a counterattack. Believing the Americans were part of a larger group, the unit surrendered. As the patrol was organizing the prisoners, a hidden machine gun killed six and wounded three. The highest-ranking unwounded member, York silenced the machine gun, killed a few more German soldiers who charged the group, and led the prisoners back to American lines. York’s achievement earned him a Distinguished Service Cross, soon upgraded to a Medal of Honor. Fame arrived after an adulatory cover article in the April 26, 1919, edition of the Saturday Evening Post, which had a circulation of 2 million. There followed numerous lucrative offers to exploit his fame, which York declined before returning home to Tennessee. Refreshingly, Nelson does not sugarcoat York’s remaining years, portraying him as anxious to help his impoverished community but naïve about human nature. Benefactors gave him a large farm but ran out of money, leaving York with a burdensome mortgage, and his efforts to build local schools met with frustration. The bonanza from Howard Hawks’ 1941 hit Sergeant York helped the schools but brought a huge bill for back taxes from the IRS. It also infuriated other members of his patrol, who had long complained that he was hogging all the glory.

An admiring but realistic account of an American hero well suited to any WWI buff.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-297588-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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

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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

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A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

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PERSIST

The Massachusetts senator and financial reformer recounts several of her good fights over the years.

Famous for being chided for “persisting” on the Senate floor, Warren is nearly a byword for the application of an unbending, if usually polite, feminism to the corridors of power. Though she has a schoolmarm-ish air—and indeed taught school for much of her life—she gladly owns up to liking a beer or two and enjoying a good brawl, and she’s a scrapper with a long memory. In 2008, when she shopped a proposal to found a federal agency that “could act as a watchdog to make sure that consumers weren’t getting cheated by financial institutions,” she encountered a congressman who “laughed in my face.” She doesn’t reveal his name, but you can bet he crosses the hall when she’s coming the other way. Warren does name other names, especially Donald Trump, who, with Republicans on the Hill, accomplished only one thing, namely “a $2 trillion tax cut that mostly benefited rich people.” Now that the Democrats are in power, the author reckons that the time is ripe to shake off the Trump debacle and build “a nation that works, not just for the rich and powerful but for everyone.” She identifies numerous areas that need immediate attention, from financial reform to bringing more women into the workplace and mandating equal pay for equal work. Warren premises some of these changes on increased taxes on the rich, happily citing a billionaire well known for insider trading, who complained of her, “This is the fucking American dream she is shitting on.” The author reverts to form: “Oh dear. Did I hit a nerve?” Warren’s common-sensical proposals on housing, infrastructure development, and civil rights merit attention, and her book makes for a sometimes-funny, sometimes–sharp-tongued pleasure.

A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-79924-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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