A newsworthy book in an electoral cycle that promises to see plenty of foreign interference—and little resistance from...

CROSSFIRE HURRICANE

INSIDE DONALD TRUMP'S WAR ON THE FBI

“Never did I imagine a day when the greatest threats to our institutions would come from within our own government”: A former special agent details just what it is that Donald Trump doesn’t like about the FBI.

Now a CNN analyst, Campbell served as assistant to former FBI director James Comey, among other assignments over a 12-year career. It was in that role that he participated in the operation of his title, its name taken from the Rolling Stones song “Jumping Jack Flash.” It was early on in the 2016 presidential campaign that the Steele report emerged from a British intelligence agent “that contained unverified but explosive charges against then candidate Trump.” In those green times, even a couple of Republican senators worried that the report was worth pursuing, one of them, not coincidentally, John McCain. Comey’s unpleasant task was to report to Trump that the FBI had the information and that he was indeed under investigation for illegal ties to Russia, something Trump has vehemently denied. In the end, he fired Comey and effectively declared war on the FBI for supposedly being against him politically even though, Campbell notes, the agency is apolitical—and, he adds, “one key aspect of law enforcement in this nation that separates us from authoritarian regimes has been the norm that politicians do not interfere in the work of the FBI.” That norm has been destroyed, and even though the Mueller Report, by the author’s account, strongly suggests illegal activity, he writes that Attorney General William Barr, “describing lawfully predicated surveillance as ’spying,’ ” and Trump’s personal attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, are actively blocking for the White House. Campbell notes that he left the agency voluntarily and has no ax to grind, though his principal person of interest is the current occupant of the White House: “I simply hope to illuminate for US citizens the current and lasting consequences of Trump’s attacks on law enforcement.” That he does.

A newsworthy book in an electoral cycle that promises to see plenty of foreign interference—and little resistance from Republicans.

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61620-950-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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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