A spirited and impassioned chronicle.

DESERT CHROME

WATER, A WOMAN, AND WILD HORSES IN THE WEST

Testimony to the healing power of wildness.

Essayist Wilder makes her book debut with a candid memoir that interweaves a trajectory of loss, pain, and hard-won serenity with a paean to wild horses. Sexually abused by a family friend when she was a child, Wilder suffered severe consequences: PTSD, depression, and addiction. When she was 19, shortly after her boyfriend died suddenly, she started using heroin and soon added cocaine, pills, and alcohol. “I lied to everyone,” she writes, “hurt friends, stole from family, shot up in my mother’s bathroom.” She married and divorced, and when she lost custody of her two sons, she fell apart. “Drugs,” she admits, “kept me going as I lived without my children.” What saved her, eventually, was a connection to the power and beauty of wild mustangs. “Watching wild horses is the best medicine,” she writes, “like watching a river or the flames of a campfire burning low in the night.” Wilder evokes with feeling particular horses she has loved as well as the dry, rolling landscapes of high desert country—red rock and juniper, pinon pine and sagebrush—where she has camped, bought and sold ranches, set up a horse clinic, and accompanied a photographer friend to document the mustangs’ lives—and their plight. Wilder examines the problem of the burgeoning mustang population, resulting from the passage of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act in 1971. Because mustangs compete with cattle for land—angering ranchers—the Bureau of Land Management conducts helicopter roundups, removing herds to reservations, where they live essentially in captivity, forcibly separated from family band members. Wilder, along with other mustang advocates, instead promotes a “humane, commonsense” solution: injecting mares with PZP, which prevents pregnancy. A governmental PZP program, she argues, can ensure that mustangs “stay wild on lands they know.”

A spirited and impassioned chronicle.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-948814-36-2

Page Count: 350

Publisher: Torrey House Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

PERSIST

The Massachusetts senator and financial reformer recounts several of her good fights over the years.

Famous for being chided for “persisting” on the Senate floor, Warren is nearly a byword for the application of an unbending, if usually polite, feminism to the corridors of power. Though she has a schoolmarm-ish air—and indeed taught school for much of her life—she gladly owns up to liking a beer or two and enjoying a good brawl, and she’s a scrapper with a long memory. In 2008, when she shopped a proposal to found a federal agency that “could act as a watchdog to make sure that consumers weren’t getting cheated by financial institutions,” she encountered a congressman who “laughed in my face.” She doesn’t reveal his name, but you can bet he crosses the hall when she’s coming the other way. Warren does name other names, especially Donald Trump, who, with Republicans on the Hill, accomplished only one thing, namely “a $2 trillion tax cut that mostly benefited rich people.” Now that the Democrats are in power, the author reckons that the time is ripe to shake off the Trump debacle and build “a nation that works, not just for the rich and powerful but for everyone.” She identifies numerous areas that need immediate attention, from financial reform to bringing more women into the workplace and mandating equal pay for equal work. Warren premises some of these changes on increased taxes on the rich, happily citing a billionaire well known for insider trading, who complained of her, “This is the fucking American dream she is shitting on.” The author reverts to form: “Oh dear. Did I hit a nerve?” Warren’s common-sensical proposals on housing, infrastructure development, and civil rights merit attention, and her book makes for a sometimes-funny, sometimes–sharp-tongued pleasure.

A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-79924-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: today

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more