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HOW THE U.S. BLEW THE WHISTLE ON THE WORLD'S BIGGEST SPORTS SCANDAL

A deeply forensic investigation of the depth of corruption within FIFA and its regional bodies that also shows how much work...

Investigating and prosecuting corruption in the world’s most popular sport.

On May 27, 2015, after several years of slow, meticulous investigation on the part of a number of agencies, most notably the American FBI and IRS, Swiss police conducted sweeping arrests of large numbers of high-ranking functionaries gathered for elections for Zurich-based FIFA, world soccer’s governing body. Corruption across the sport has been endemic for decades, and in this fine, deeply researched, painstakingly assembled book, BuzzFeed News investigative reporter Bensinger shows how American agencies homed in on corruption within CONCACAF, the governing body for soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean. Fortunately, the narrative is not as ham-handed as the subtitle, which turns the years of investigation into some sort of simplistic nationalist triumph. Working diligently for years, FBI and IRS officials revealed patterns of corruption—bribery, graft, outright theft—much of which passed through American banks and other institutions and which amounted, in their estimation, to racketeering. A focus on the two highest-ranking CONCACAF officials—the deeply compromised American Chuck Blazer and Trinidadian Jack Warner—expanded to include a large swath of FIFA’s hierarchy, especially in North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean. The book is deeply sourced. However, because of Bensinger’s reliance on hundreds of hours of interviews with anonymous sources, it is somewhat thinly documented, and readers will have to trust the force of the argument and the mountains of clear evidence (as well as the successful prosecutions). As the author notes, “the saga of corruption within FIFA and worldwide soccer as a whole is immeasurably complicated.” Perhaps most shocking is that there is little evidence that FIFA and organizations such as CONCACAF have really cleaned up their acts.

A deeply forensic investigation of the depth of corruption within FIFA and its regional bodies that also shows how much work goes into high-level criminal investigations.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-3390-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

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A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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