Provocative and well-argued with plenty of clues on what to watch for in the coming presidential race.

FRACTURE

BARACK OBAMA, THE CLINTONS, AND THE RACIAL DIVIDE

An exploration of the relationship between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, proving to be salutary reading for anyone who still believes that we live in a post-racial society.

Recent events in South Carolina, Missouri, Florida, and elsewhere would suggest that we’re going backward when it comes to matters of race and ethnicity. Against this backdrop, the Republican mainstream in particular has made hay of white resentment over supposed favoritism, in the form of affirmative action and other measures, meant to “add economic stability to the...basic rights for African Americans (and poor whites),” as MSNBC correspondent Reid observes. Against this divided politics, it’s small wonder that “Democrats are the only ball game” for African-Americans, the product of a generational shift that began with Lyndon Johnson’s civil rights programs of the 1960s, which he recognized would drive Southern voters into the arms of a welcoming GOP. Before Johnson, writes the author, only Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal had done much to “lift large swaths of African Americans out of despair,” further disposing African-American voters to the Democratic cause. All that said, as Reid shows, Obama, a beneficiary of both Democratic-backed civil rights measures and of African-American votes, has seemingly been strangely reluctant to engage in discussions of race. A case in point, writes the author, is the upswelling of GOP efforts to strengthen voter ID requirements, “just one weapon Republican state legislatures and governors could use against minority voters.” Obama offered only modest assurances that if voters wished to vote, they would find ways to prevail. Reid’s book slightly precedes a shift in Obama’s tone following the Charleston shootings, so some of her conclusions may require modest updating, but her point remains important: the racial divide persists, and Clinton, the presumptive Democratic candidate in 2016, will have to court African-American voters while delicately maintaining some distance from Obama in the eyes of white voters.

Provocative and well-argued with plenty of clues on what to watch for in the coming presidential race.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-230525-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

more