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Repetitive in places but not fatally so—a forceful, readable manifesto.

The celebrated Mexican-American journalist takes on the anti-immigration tenor of the Trump era.

On Aug. 25, 2015, Donald Trump had the author removed from a press conference in Iowa, telling him, “go back to Univision.” Already well-known for his role as anchor at that network, Ramos (Take a Stand: Lessons from Rebels, 2016, etc.) was thrust further into the spotlight following the incident, an experience that also led him to further soul-searching regarding his status as a legal immigrant in an increasingly anti-immigrant political and social landscape. Here, the author attempts to synthesize his thoughts about our present state of affairs and how, “to many people, I represent the Other.” The concept of the Other recurs throughout the book, which contains much similar material to his previous one and suffers from repetition and uneven organization near the end. Nonetheless, Ramos’ message is powerful and vital. “Almost all of us here are either immigrants or the descendants of foreigners,” writes the author, “and that has always helped us to cross borders and exceed the limits of what we thought was possible.” In brief chapters, some of which have been previously published or reworked, Ramos uses both personal storytelling and concrete data to demonstrate the absolute necessity of immigrants to the success of the U.S. as a nation. (In strictly economic terms, one estimate notes that immigrants “pay $90 billion in taxes, while using only $5 billion in public benefits.”) Of course, in the current climate of fake news, facts and figures are often ignored or distorted—something Ramos fully recognizes—but he diligently hammers them home anyway. Among other topics in these essays, the author discusses the proposed border wall, “the geography of stupidity”; Barack Obama’s lamentable deportation track record; his disappointment with the Latino voter turnout in the 2016 election; the tenuous status of undocumented workers (he dedicates the book to “the Dreamers, my heroes”); and the prospects for his children’s future.

Repetitive in places but not fatally so—a forceful, readable manifesto.

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-56379-2

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Vintage

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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

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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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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