A cleareyed, rational examination of a government office that plays a key and often misunderstood role in the lives of all...



Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security from 2009 until 2013, reflects on the role she played in the government and offers advice for those in charge of the future of the department.

The author, now president of the University of California, was governor of Arizona when she was tapped by Barack Obama to take over the management of the third largest U.S. government agency, with a budget only exceeded by the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs. She was the third director of a department cobbled together out of 22 different federal agencies in the aftermath of 9/11. While the author takes a few jabs at Donald Trump—notably, for his failure to recognize that our border with Mexico is “not a Tupperware container but rather a living, breathing membrane, a region where family members live and work on both sides”—for the most part she steers clear of partisan politics. Instead, she sticks to a measured, thoughtful analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the department and an account of the changes that have been made since its inception. Along the way, she includes a short version of her biography and the challenges she faced in a new position that began with “a mountain of briefing documents” topped with “a half-inch-thick single-spaced glossary of government acronyms.” Among the successes of the department, Napolitano counts, perhaps to some readers' surprise, the effectiveness of the Transportation Security Administration. Among its shortcomings, she emphasizes the difficulty an often unwieldy bureaucracy faces when trying to recognize new threats, particularly those based on new technology. “It is impossible to overstate the urgency of improving our country's cybersecurity,” she writes. “After climate change, there is no greater threat to the homeland.”

A cleareyed, rational examination of a government office that plays a key and often misunderstood role in the lives of all Americans.

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5417-6222-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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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

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Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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