An approachable, enjoyable, and enlightening introduction for anyone who wants to learn more about wine.


A sommelier and educator details her journey from wine enthusiast to expert in this debut memoir.

In the midst of her final year as an advertising student at the University of Florida, Joseph found herself compelled to throw caution to the wind, move across the country to Napa Valley, and try against all odds to devote her life to a newfound fascination with wine. Despite no prior training, the author secured an entry-level position at the prestigious Inglenook Vineyard and threw herself into learning everything she could about wine, its creation, and its ability to bring people together. With gracious optimism and unaffected frankness, Joseph recalls her attempts to prove herself to her co-workers, struggling with repeated embarrassments and humbling revelations of her own ignorance, and her determination to keep improving. Eventually, the nightly studies, constant wine tastings, and tenacious advances at work led the author to pursue her certification as a sommelier, a nerve-wracking test that nearly half of applicants fail annually. But even after achieving what a year before she thought was impossible, Joseph deftly describes the restless desire to grow that spurred her on her journey in the first place. In the ensuing years, the author would relocate to New York City, endure menial work in the restaurant industry, make a splash on the wine scene, and ultimately commit to sharing her passion and expertise with others. Interspersed throughout her informative and engaging memoir are sections demystifying the process of cultivating and producing wine as well as covering the practices that have long labeled wine experts as elitist. Without any air of pretension, Joseph invites readers to consider the social and cultural importance of wine as well as the nuances of savoring it that anyone with a little time and research can master. “The most poignant point I can make is it doesn’t matter where you begin when you study wine,” asserts the author. “The most helpful thing you can do for yourself is to simply begin.”

An approachable, enjoyable, and enlightening introduction for anyone who wants to learn more about wine.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-950906-94-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Indigo River Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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A solid work of investigation that, while treading well-covered ground, offers plenty of surprises.

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An account of the last gasps of the Trump administration, completing a trilogy begun with Fear (2018) and Rage (2020).

One of Woodward and fellow Washington Post reporter Costa’s most memorable revelations comes right away: Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calling his counterpart in Beijing to assure him that even after Jan. 6 and what Milley saw as an unmistakable attempt at a coup d’état, he would keep Trump from picking a war with China. This depiction has earned much attention on the talking-heads news channels, but more significant is its follow-up: Milley did so because he was concerned that Trump “might still be looking for what Milley called a ‘Reichstag moment.’ ” Milley emerges as a stalwart protector of the Constitution who constantly courted Trump’s ire and yet somehow survived without being fired. No less concerned about Trump’s erratic behavior was Paul Ryan, the former Speaker of the House, who studied the psychiatric literature for a big takeaway: “Do not humiliate Trump in public. Humiliating a narcissist risked real danger, a frantic lashing out if he felt threatened or criticized.” Losing the 2020 election was one such humiliation, and Woodward and Costa closely track the trajectory of Trump’s reaction, from depression to howling rage to the stubborn belief that the election was rigged. There are a few other modest revelations in the book, including the fact that Trump loyalist William Barr warned him that the electorate didn’t like him. “They just think you’re a fucking asshole,” Barr told his boss. That was true enough, and the civil war that the authors recount among various offices in the White House and government reveals that Trump’s people were only ever tentatively his. All the same, the authors note, having drawn on scores of “deep background” interviews, Trump still has his base, still intends vengeance by way of a comeback, and still constitutes the peril of their title.

A solid work of investigation that, while treading well-covered ground, offers plenty of surprises.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982182-91-5

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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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 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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