An intelligent, rigorous analysis of a political mystery.




An insider’s account of a neglected but significant moment in American presidential history. 

Soon after Richard Nixon’s landslide electoral victory in 1972, his administration was beleaguered by scandal. Nixon’s hand-picked vice president, Spiro Agnew, was forced to resign in disgrace after pleading no contest to federal tax evasion, and Watergate eventually brought Nixon’s presidency to the point of collapse. When Nixon, too, was forced to resign in 1974, he tapped Gerald Ford, then House minority leader, and a staunch opponent of Democratic policy, to replace him and to issue a pardon for his crimes. But according to the 25th Amendment, when both the presidency and vice-presidency are vacated, the Oval Office becomes occupied by the Speaker of the House, then Congressman Carl Albert. However, Albert, who actually participated in the drafting of the 25th Amendment in 1963, not only didn’t pursue the office, but even made a series of decisions that made it likely Ford would be successfully installed. Carter (I Hear JFK’S Death Shots, 2013, etc.) and Lefebvre (President or Precedent, 2017) assess why Albert, who seemed both fit and prepared to assume the office, would abjure it. They consider several reasons and discuss the political ramifications of Ford’s ascendancy. Additionally, they ponder an alternate historical universe if Albert had, in fact, become president. At the time of the event in question, Carter served as press secretary for Robert Strauss, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, and was also a friend of Albert. This brief historical portrait is admirably exhaustive despite its brevity, and it searchingly considers all the possible solutions to this unresolved mystery. Also, the authors paint a vivid, personal picture of Albert, who emerges as a complex individual known for his bipartisanship, competence, and civility, especially notable during a particularly divisive period in American politics. There are some small errors in the book; for example, the authors sometimes state that Albert nearly became the 35th American president and sometimes the 38th. 

An intelligent, rigorous analysis of a political mystery. 

Pub Date: March 11, 2017


Page Count: 85

Publisher: Russell Morris Publishers

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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