Essential to anyone’s library of Nixoniana.

THE NIXON DEFENSE

WHAT HE KNEW AND WHEN HE KNEW IT

About that 18-and-a-half minutes of lost tape….

In this 40th anniversary year of Richard Nixon’s gloomy evacuation of the White House, former staffer and ever since bête noire Dean (Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches, 2007, etc.) defends himself against a category of accusation Tricky Dick frequently leveled against him: “I’m not going to fire a guy on the basis of a charge made by Dean, who basically is trying to save his ass and get immunity, you see.” Well, sure: Dean was and is no dummy, and he saw what was coming in the grim swirl of the Watergate hearings, during which frequently named figures such as Ehrlichman, Haldeman, Hunt, Liddy, Mitchell and Dean himself became household names. By the author’s account, Liddy—never likable but always honorable, in his own way—took the fall for the foiled break-in and offered to have himself shot on any street corner in Washington at the president’s pleasure; the president declined, but he schemed and maneuvered in other directions. Sometimes, Dean notes, Nixon was brilliant in that maneuvering, turning potential losses into double-edged wins, usually Pyrrhic but still damaging to the opposition. This account, drawing on notes, scrawls on legal pads and transcripts of taped conversations, makes an odd but compelling stroll down Memory Lane for those who remember the time. Dean provides deft portraits of the likes of the unctuous Kissinger, the exceedingly odd Al Haig (“he’s a little bit obnoxious and doesn’t wear well with people, which would be good from our point of view”), and Nixon himself. And as for that missing tape, the one about which so much was made at the Watergate hearings? It would spoil the surprise to tell it here, but Dean has the answers.

Essential to anyone’s library of Nixoniana.

Pub Date: July 29, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-670-02536-7

Page Count: 784

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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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

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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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

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