Self-serving, as a politician’s memoir will be—and almost perfectly unrevealing.

READ REVIEW

HERE’S WHERE I STAND

A MEMOIR

Who is America’s greatest enemy? Not bin Laden, not Hussein—no, the bad guys, suggests right-wing doyen Helms, are the liberal media and anyone of a liberal bent.

Helms—once a sportswriter and TV executive before departing for politics’ greener pastures—has nothing but scorn for the press, which coddles the nation’s foes and otherwise impedes the spread of Republican values. Thus, “When it became apparent that [Panamanian president Manuel] Noriega was deeply involved in drug smuggling, gun running, and money laundering, even many in the liberal media concluded that he had to go.” And thus, “Even though the liberal media tried to belittle [George W. Bush’s] accomplishments, his record as Governor stood up to the scrutiny of critics.” And so forth. Just as bad are the liberals in the Senate, who, Helms recalls, opposed him at every turn: the dupes who gave away the Panama Canal; the unholy triumvirate of Carol Moseley Braun (an African-American who opposed Helms’s defense of the Confederate flag), Teddy Kennedy (“Without his opposition, we conservatives very likely would not have done so well in the past thirty years” and John Kerry (“a bit arrogant and overbearing,” even though, Helms recalls, he sided with Kerry in calling for the Iran-Contra hearings). The digging at the presumed liberal elite aside, Helms’s memoir is mostly a what-I-did-on-my-summer-vacation affair, a forced essay punctuated by all the usual stump-speech platitudes about how we owe God thanks for “letting us live in America” and how the “terrorists” in Iraq “believed we were soft and not willing to stand up to their cowardly attacks.” There is almost nothing in Helms’s pages of the hard work of doing politics in the Senate, with all the compromises and back-door deals that entails, and entirely too much of Helms’s celebratory but insubstantial reminiscences of friendships with the likes of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and the sitting president.

Self-serving, as a politician’s memoir will be—and almost perfectly unrevealing.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2005

ISBN: 0-375-50884-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2005

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 11

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

Did you like this book?

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

NIGHT

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

Did you like this book?

more