a naughty mudbath. Snoopy scatoscopy at its juiciest.



A cable TV gossip spills the beans about a lot, if not all, the tricks of her feline trade and, naturally, delivers plenty of old

and new dirt along with it. Clever reporter Walls fuses the story of tawdry practices by the personality industry with some prime gossip. The Hollywood flaks, the tabloid snoops, the retailers of the lubricious detritus of the news, and the researchers of the wanton behavior of famous folk are investigated in this study of an especially lively branch of journalism. Walls's study, perforce, often includes titillating tales of celebs and those who celebrate them. The sexual proclivities of Matt Drudge, Mike Wallace's acne scars, and Tina Brown's healthy bosom are all looked into in a text that sort of frowns on the excesses of commercial voyeurism. It's an old- fashioned sideshow, high-spirited, mean-spirited, and plenty of guilty fun. Harking back to Walter Winchell, Hedda Hopper, and Louella Parsons, Walls’s report on the tattle-tale industry includes the scoop on People, The Enquirer, Confidential, 60 Minutes, and the inevitable infection of the mainstream press. Players include all the old favorites: Liz Taylor, Tom Cruise, Michael Jackson, the Donald, O.J., and, of course, the late Princess Di, the late Marilyn, and the late (discounting hearsay) Elvis, among others. Roy Cohn appears throughout, as do various Kennedys. Only Fatty Arbuckle seems to be neglected. Among the less surprising revelations: Checkbook journalism is widely practiced, even by the most respected newsfolk; people known for being famous use the press for their own purposes; celebrities hire private eyes to nail enemies; wayward stars aren't capable of remorse (only anger). Shocking Revelations! Surprising Buzz About Media Buzzards! Here is a Janus-faced muckraker, one side telling how ink is spilled on keyhole revelations, the other offering some fun in

a naughty mudbath. Snoopy scatoscopy at its juiciest.

Pub Date: March 7, 2000

ISBN: 0-380-97821-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2000

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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No one’s mind will be changed by Karl’s book, but it’s a valuable report from the scene of an ongoing train wreck.


The chief White House and Washington correspondent for ABC provides a ringside seat to a disaster-ridden Oval Office.

It is Karl to whom we owe the current popularity of a learned Latin term. Questioning chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, he followed up a perhaps inadvertently honest response on the matter of Ukrainian intervention in the electoral campaign by saying, “What you just described is a quid pro quo.” Mulvaney’s reply: “Get over it.” Karl, who has been covering Trump for decades and knows which buttons to push and which to avoid, is not inclined to get over it: He rightly points out that a reporter today “faces a president who seems to have no appreciation or understanding of the First Amendment and the role of a free press in American democracy.” Yet even against a bellicose, untruthful leader, he adds, the press “is not the opposition party.” The author, who keeps his eye on the subject and not in the mirror, writes of Trump’s ability to stage situations, as when he once called Trump out, at an event, for misrepresenting poll results and Trump waited until the camera was off before exploding, “Fucking nasty guy!”—then finished up the interview as if nothing had happened. Trump and his inner circle are also, by Karl’s account, masters of timing, matching negative news such as the revelation that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election with distractions away from Trump—in this case, by pushing hard on the WikiLeaks emails from the Democratic campaign, news of which arrived at the same time. That isn’t to say that they manage people or the nation well; one of the more damning stories in a book full of them concerns former Homeland Security head Kirstjen Nielsen, cut off at the knees even while trying to do Trump’s bidding.

No one’s mind will be changed by Karl’s book, but it’s a valuable report from the scene of an ongoing train wreck.

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4562-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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