TIRED OF WINNING

DONALD TRUMP AND THE END OF THE GRAND OLD PARTY

Excellent reporting and assured writing—an ominous warning.

Another damning portrait of a disastrous administration.

“I am your retribution,” Trump promised his followers in a recent speech, since elaborated on with threats to root out “junkies, Marxists, thugs, radicals, and dangerous refugees that no other country wants.” As ABC News chief Washington correspondent Karl writes, none other than Steve Bannon himself pointed out to him that retribution was a code word employed by Confederate agents in a plot to assassinate Lincoln. Trump may be undisciplined and often unhinged, but he tells you who he is and what he means: The promised concentration camps for undocumented immigrants are likely not metaphors. After the 2020 election, Karl reveals, an irate, ego-deflated Trump threatened to leave the GOP and form his own party. He was dissuaded from doing so not by RNC chair Ronna McDaniel’s pleas for party loyalty, but instead by her threat of withdrawing millions of dollars in funding from him. Karl rightfully asks, Why not let the “wounded, vindictive, and angry former president” go? After all, as many GOP insiders have said behind closed doors, Trump is a loser. With him, the GOP has lost two midterms and a presidential election, and it’s demonstrable that non-Trump GOP candidates won in 2022 while pro-Trumpers lost. Still, Karl notes, Trump has a stranglehold on the GOP, so much so that “there may be no quicker way to lose a 2024 Republican presidential primary than to admit you’d consider trying to oust Donald Trump from office.” Just ask Liz Cheney. Other intriguing nuggets from this news-packed and newsworthy book: Trump fell full tilt under the sway of a QAnon theory that he’d be reinstated as president by a court decision, and, “more detached from reality than ever,” he now views the Jan. 6 rioters as heroes.

Excellent reporting and assured writing—an ominous warning.

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2023

ISBN: 9780593473986

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2024

BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

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A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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