Wonkish but of broad interest to students of geopolitics, international affairs, and economics.

THE NATIONALIST REVIVAL

TRADE, IMMIGRATION, AND THE REVOLT AGAINST GLOBALIZATION

The longtime political journalist limns the rise of Trumpian nationalism in the face of a bewilderingly global world.

The word “cosmopolitan” is freighted, but Talking Points Memo editor at large Judis (The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics, 2016, etc.) does not hesitate to put it to work in characterizing the current political rift between left and right not as a battle between nationalists and liberals but as one between nationalists and cosmopolitans, namely metropolitan or college town–dwelling elites who own a passport, have graduated from good schools, and make up the upper rungs of the professions. “When Trump supporters blame America’s ills on liberals,” writes the author, “they are generally talking about cosmopolitans.” The words aside, the central point is that Trump’s left-leaning opponents tend to favor open borders, his supporters walls and immigration bans. Trump was able to leverage these worldviews—social psychologies, even, to trust Judis—to present the case that Americans were being robbed of their patrimony. “He had been complaining since the late 1980s,” notes Judis, “about America losing out on trade to Japan and then China and being taken advantage of by its allies in Europe.” After surveying its history, the author argues that some form of nationalism is useful as a “framework within which citizens and their governments deliberate about what to do—and justify what they have done." In this regard, a nationalist ideology need not necessarily be bigoted or exclusive; Judis argues that nationalism is “an essential ingredient of political democracies” while allowing that it can also underlie authoritarianism and fascism. Against this background, the author proposes that Trumpian nationalism, a zero-sum game in which there are only winners and losers, need not be the only alternative to an internationalism by which nations cede sovereignty, as with the European Union. Indeed, he suggests, international cooperation is best effected by sovereign nations at whose helm is a single great power, as with Great Britain in the 19th century and—well, perhaps China in the 21st.

Wonkish but of broad interest to students of geopolitics, international affairs, and economics.

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9997454-0-3

Page Count: 140

Publisher: Columbia Global Reports

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

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

Did you like this book?

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.

FRONT ROW AT THE TRUMP SHOW

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

Did you like this book?

more