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GAZA CONFLICT 2021

A well-reasoned, if one-sided, overview of Israel’s most recent war with Hamas.

A scholar of the Middle East surveys the 2021 Israeli-Gaza conflict in this political book.

With a Ph.D. centered on 20th-century terrorism from King’s College London and as the author of multiple books on Palestine, Schanzer and his perspective on the Middle East have been featured everywhere from cable news to congressional hearings. In this book, he turns his attention to the 11-day war between Israel and Hamas in May 2021. In an accessible, concise narrative geared toward the general public, the volume begins with a history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with a special focus on the rise of Hamas. Central to the author’s motivation in writing the book is his belief that the Western media failed to accurately cover the war. In addition to the media downplaying “the brutality of Hamas” and neglecting to acknowledge “how far Israel went to protect its own people” through defensive rather than offensive tactics, the volume argues that the role of Iran in stoking the conflict was insufficiently analyzed by Western journalists. While Schanzer’s narrative shows Hamas and Iran as the root instigators of the war, he also emphasizes that Israel’s conflict with the wider Arabic world is actually “shrinking.” With fluency in both Arabic and Hebrew and backed with an impressive network of endnotes, the author provides readers with a diverse range of perspectives from Middle Eastern media sources as well as his own interviews with American and Israeli officials. But critics of Israel’s Palestinian policies may be skeptical of the book’s conclusion that Israel “has consistently gone out of its way both to shorten the length of its conflicts…and to minimize casualties” as well as its dismissal of the “unproductive debates about whether Israel is justified in its military control over the West Bank” and the Gaza Strip. And while acknowledging that “the Israeli government deserves some blame here,” its fault, according to Schanzer, is almost exclusively in public relations blunders. Strangely absent from the work’s analysis is any meaningful commentary on Benjamin Netanyahu’s spring 2021 trial, which occurred simultaneously with the Gaza conflict, a war that many at the time believed could bolster his political career.

A well-reasoned, if one-sided, overview of Israel’s most recent war with Hamas.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-956450-01-9

Page Count: 284

Publisher: Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Review Posted Online: Oct. 31, 2021

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

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    Best Books Of 2017


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Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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WHAT THIS COMEDIAN SAID WILL SHOCK YOU

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

The comedian argues that the arts of moderation and common sense must be reinvigorated.

Some people are born snarky, some become snarky, and some have snarkiness thrust upon them. Judging from this book, Maher—host of HBO’s Real Time program and author of The New New Rules and When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden—is all three. As a comedian, he has a great deal of leeway to make fun of people in politics, and he often delivers hilarious swipes with a deadpan face. The author describes himself as a traditional liberal, with a disdain for Republicans (especially the MAGA variety) and a belief in free speech and personal freedom. He claims that he has stayed much the same for more than 20 years, while the left, he argues, has marched toward intolerance. He sees an addiction to extremism on both sides of the aisle, which fosters the belief that anyone who disagrees with you must be an enemy to be destroyed. However, Maher has always displayed his own streaks of extremism, and his scorched-earth takedowns eventually become problematic. The author has something nasty to say about everyone, it seems, and the sarcastic tone starts after more than 300 pages. As has been the case throughout his career, Maher is best taken in small doses. The book is worth reading for the author’s often spot-on skewering of inept politicians and celebrities, but it might be advisable to occasionally dip into it rather than read the whole thing in one sitting. Some parts of the text are hilarious, but others are merely insulting. Maher is undeniably talented, but some restraint would have produced a better book.

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781668051351

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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