An admiring celebration of one woman’s important contribution to an ongoing struggle.

THE STRUGGLE IS ETERNAL

GLORIA RICHARDSON AND BLACK LIBERATION

A detailed biography of a once-prominent civil rights activist.

In the 1960s, Gloria Richardson (b. 1922) was at the forefront of the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee, which targeted racial injustice in Cambridge, Maryland. Drawing on interviews with Richardson over many years, nearly 40 interviews with other activists, and a prodigious number of books and articles, Fitzgerald (History and Political Science/Cabrini Univ.) makes his literary debut with this thoroughly researched biography. Having Richardson’s cooperation proves to be both a boon and liability. She “shared her voice” as well as “many intimate details of her life and how she views the world,” but the author’s affection for her sometimes clouds the narrative. The daughter of a prominent Cambridge family, Richardson was taught “self-respect, respect for family, and respect for and service to her black community.” Undergraduate studies at Howard University grounded her in sociology, political science, and “research methods and group-management skills.” In 1962, Cambridge’s first civil rights demonstration, led by black students, included Richardson’s high school–age daughter. Soon Richardson was asked to lead the CNAC as it evolved from supporting the students to carrying out its own goals, coordinating with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, the NAACP, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, to focus on voting and school desegregation. Richardson, a feisty, outspoken reformer, rejected “the politics of respectability” that had characterized protest movements of the 1950s; clashes with police, arrests, and angry demonstrations were inevitable. “Threats of violence, including murder, against CNAC members and their supporters were common,” Fitzgerald reports. Media coverage elevated Richardson to the national stage. When the Kennedy administration decided to become involved in Cambridge’s racial problems, Richardson at first felt “a sense of optimism” that, unfortunately, was short-lived. A meeting with Robert Kennedy, she remarked, seemed like an empty ritual. For the next several years, Richardson was a strong and influential voice that, the author asserts, “helped Black Power percolate” and expand.

An admiring celebration of one woman’s important contribution to an ongoing struggle.

Pub Date: Nov. 22, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8131-7649-9

Page Count: 370

Publisher: Univ. Press of Kentucky

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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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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UNTAMED

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 Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

INTO THE WILD

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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