A flawed fulmination that reports only virtue on one side and all guilt on the other.

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SHATTERED HOPES

OBAMA'S FAILURE TO BROKER ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PEACE

An official of a pro-Palestinian lobbying group finds the administration of President Barack Obama to be, like all administrations of the past 65 years, egregiously unfair to Palestinian interests.

Ruebner, advocacy director of a group called the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, presents an extensive litany of complaints against the Jewish state and its American ally, fully garnished with sententious terminology like “genocide,” “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing.” Certainly, in the fractious history of the Middle East, fault may be assigned to both Israel and the various factions representing the Palestinian people. The cause of secure peace surely cannot be served by jeremiads like this, sincere and earnest as they might be, that ignore this certainty. West Bank settlements are a serious concern but so are suicide bombers and rockets deployed by Hamas and Hezbollah, entities sworn to “obliterate” their neighbor. Ruebner finds something nefarious in Israel’s use of the Iron Dome system, designed to intercept missiles launched against civilians. The notorious Goldstone Report on the Gaza conflict was quite critical of Israel, and the author uses 16 pages to analyze the report yet neglects to mention that the author, Goldstone himself, soon disavowed his own findings, confessing that his commission did not possess all the facts. Similarly, readers of this narrative of Palestinian victimhood will not find the whole story. If the peace process is to survive, it must overcome unremitting bias. Constant threats to destroy the Jewish state won’t relieve the plight of the Palestinian population longing for nationhood and neither will unadulterated propaganda. Beyond the reduction or elimination of American support for its ally, Ruebner offers no solutions for peace in the region.

A flawed fulmination that reports only virtue on one side and all guilt on the other.

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-84467-120-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Verso

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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SLEEPERS

An extraordinary true tale of torment, retribution, and loyalty that's irresistibly readable in spite of its intrusively melodramatic prose. Starting out with calculated, movie-ready anecdotes about his boyhood gang, Carcaterra's memoir takes a hairpin turn into horror and then changes tack once more to relate grippingly what must be one of the most outrageous confidence schemes ever perpetrated. Growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s, former New York Daily News reporter Carcaterra (A Safe Place, 1993) had three close friends with whom he played stickball, bedeviled nuns, and ran errands for the neighborhood Mob boss. All this is recalled through a dripping mist of nostalgia; the streetcorner banter is as stilted and coy as a late Bowery Boys film. But a third of the way in, the story suddenly takes off: In 1967 the four friends seriously injured a man when they more or less unintentionally rolled a hot-dog cart down the steps of a subway entrance. The boys, aged 11 to 14, were packed off to an upstate New York reformatory so brutal it makes Sing Sing sound like Sunnybrook Farm. The guards continually raped and beat them, at one point tossing all of them into solitary confinement, where rats gnawed at their wounds and the menu consisted of oatmeal soaked in urine. Two of Carcaterra's friends were dehumanized by their year upstate, eventually becoming prominent gangsters. In 1980, they happened upon the former guard who had been their principal torturer and shot him dead. The book's stunning denouement concerns the successful plot devised by the author and his third friend, now a Manhattan assistant DA, to free the two killers and to exact revenge against the remaining ex-guards who had scarred their lives so irrevocably. Carcaterra has run a moral and emotional gauntlet, and the resulting book, despite its flaws, is disturbing and hard to forget. (Film rights to Propaganda; author tour)

Pub Date: July 10, 1995

ISBN: 0-345-39606-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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