From Massachusetts and Florida to Montana and Alaska, with each chapter, both conservative and liberal readers will react...

BLUE IN A RED STATE

A SURVIVAL GUIDE TO LIFE IN THE REAL AMERICA

Krebs (538 Ways to Live, Work, and Play Like a Liberal, 2010) seeks to paint a portrait of liberals living among the enemy, as it were, by choice.

As a campaign director for MoveOn.org and founder of Living Liberally, a national network of political social clubs, the author writes knowledgeably about people across the country—in Waukesha, Wisconsin; Little Elm, Texas; Fayetteville, Arkansas; Pawleys Island, South Carolina; Pomeroy, Iowa; and elsewhere—who have chosen to stay in a politically unwelcoming environment for a variety of reasons. For some, it’s home, where they were raised. For others, they state that it’s not so bad and that there are residents who, like them, think liberally but keep quiet about it. Many stay because moving to a big city, college, or coastal town is too much like giving up; plus, there’s no challenge there. The author proclaims that equating churches with conservatism is as wrong as equating atheists with liberalism. Furthermore, there are radicals in every way of thought, and liberalism is not immune. Some liberals quietly listen but stand up when called for, giving to and taking part in their communities. Others live provocatively, with bumper stickers and lawn signs for elections, always ready to jump into the fight. The majority love where they live, and they count on their neighbors and return the favor. One woman said her town was a great place to live; it just had no health care, maintained infrastructure, or working educational system. Another mentions that many of the residents think that the recycling program is a socialist plot. Throughout, Krebs approaches his subjects with candor and respect.

From Massachusetts and Florida to Montana and Alaska, with each chapter, both conservative and liberal readers will react strongly, but most will do nothing about it. Hopefully, however, the book will spur discussion and civic action.

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-59558-972-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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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

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