A suggestive essay in demographics and political trends.

THE THEFT OF A DECADE

HOW THE BABY BOOMERS STOLE THE MILLENNIALS' ECONOMIC FUTURE

Of spendthrift elders and strapped youth, their respective lots accidents of birth mixed with a hefty dose of politics.

Born in 1982, Wall Street Journal editorial board member Sternberg immediately indicates his thesis in the subtitle: The economic habits of the baby boomer generation, born “between the end of World War II and the introduction of the birth control pill,” will weigh forever on later generations. In 2020, millennials will be more numerous than boomers, but boomers will nevertheless be a burden for decades to come, draining social welfare funds even as their younger counterparts struggle to foot the bill. For the last decade, writes the author, “the main entitlement trend has been that Millennials are losing the ability to pay for these benefits. The evaporation of a political willingness to pay won’t be far behind.” Numerous trends contribute to this situation, foremost the fact that many millennials are outside the normal job track, having come of age during the Great Recession and never having been able to catch up. Sternberg’s account opens with the rather frivolous example of the price of avocado toast, but it builds on more substantial turf, including the elusiveness of the dream of owning a home, finding a meaningful way to participate in the workforce, and saving money for future needs. As it is, he writes, millennials have been staying in school (and in their parents’ homes), at great cost not just to themselves, but to the larger economy. Sternberg’s argument is made without rancor, but parts of it seem misplaced: The chief enemies of the millennials would seem to be structural and predate the earlier birth cohort. However, he also makes the good point that people born into times of plenty behave economically differently from those born into times of want, with the result that members of the younger group "appear to be the most financially cautious generation since the cohort who grew up in the middle of the Great Depression.”

A suggestive essay in demographics and political trends.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5417-4236-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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