A ride alongside a master flier with a cool head and sly sense of humor who, even facing death, refused to be grounded by...

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JIM MCCARTNEY

MY LIFE IN FLIGHT

Facing a terminal illness, an aviator reflects on his time above and below the clouds.

Long before he ever stepped into a cockpit, McCartney seemed destined to fly. As a boy, the kitchen table was his airplane, and he watched World War II bombers train near the family farm in Arkansas. So it was fitting that he became a professional pilot who crisscrossed the country for almost 50 years. Co-written with his sister Angela, this hefty memoir actually tells two tales. One covers the ups and downs of McCartney’s career, from Air Force-maintenance crew chief to check airman with America West Airlines and beyond. The other recounts McCartney’s battle with pancreatic cancer. The book sometimes gets overcrowded with details, and the authors’ distinct voices don’t always harmonize, but what it lacks in literary finesse it makes up in storytelling. McCartney spins yarns of nearly being arrested for smuggling in Mexico while flying for Pan American Sulphur and having an unfortunate encounter with Lady Bird Johnson. With professional precision, he describes the dangerous aspects of flight—engine failures, bomb threats and crashes that claimed the lives of colleagues. While very much a dying man’s reminiscence, the book also deserves credit for revealing how an airline is far more complicated than merely flying passengers from here to there. McCartney helped improve safety and secure better working conditions for pilots through his work as a union negotiator. McCartney Miro contributes the heartrending final section as doctors give her brother just months to live. She dutifully records his cancer treatments and her own quest to understand the disease, capturing the family’s anxiety as they confronted the loss of a loved one. McCartney eventually came to terms with his own mortality: “I look forward to the next great adventure when I see what God has planned for me.”

A ride alongside a master flier with a cool head and sly sense of humor who, even facing death, refused to be grounded by circumstance.

Pub Date: April 26, 2012

ISBN: 978-1470012939

Page Count: 334

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2012

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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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An essential account of a chaotic administration that, Woodward makes painfully clear, is incapable of governing.

RAGE

That thing in the air that is deadlier than even your “strenuous flus”? Trump knew—and did nothing about it.

The big news from veteran reporter Woodward’s follow-up to Fear has been widely reported: Trump was fully aware at the beginning of 2020 that a pandemic loomed and chose to downplay it, causing an untold number of deaths and crippling the economy. His excuse that he didn’t want to cause a panic doesn’t fly given that he trades in fear and division. The underlying news, however, is that Trump participated in this book, unlike in the first, convinced by Lindsey Graham that Woodward would give him a fair shake. Seventeen interviews with the sitting president inform this book, as well as extensive digging that yields not so much news as confirmation: Trump has survived his ineptitude because the majority of Congressional Republicans go along with the madness because they “had made a political survival decision” to do so—and surrendered their party to him. The narrative often requires reading between the lines. Graham, though a byword for toadyism, often reins Trump in; Jared Kushner emerges as the real power in the West Wing, “highly competent but often shockingly misguided in his assessments”; Trump admires tyrants, longs for their unbridled power, resents the law and those who enforce it, and is quick to betray even his closest advisers; and, of course, Trump is beholden to Putin. Trump occasionally emerges as modestly self-aware, but throughout the narrative, he is in a rage. Though he participated, he said that he suspected this to be “a lousy book.” It’s not—though readers may wish Woodward had aired some of this information earlier, when more could have been done to stem the pandemic. When promoting Fear, the author was asked for his assessment of Trump. His reply: “Let’s hope to God we don’t have a crisis.” Multiple crises later, Woodward concludes, as many observers have, “Trump is the wrong man for the job.”

An essential account of a chaotic administration that, Woodward makes painfully clear, is incapable of governing.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982131-73-9

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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