The entire nightmare vividly recalled.



A law professor revisits the scandals, investigations and trials that crippled and nearly killed a presidency.

Three locomotives barreling down separate tracks—independent counsel Ken Starr’s investigation of shady Arkansas real-estate and banking transactions, a private lawsuit filed by Paula Jones alleging sexual harassment against President Bill Clinton and the president’s dalliance with a White House intern—smashed horribly together Clinton’s impeachment hearings in 1998. Gormley (Law/Duquesne Univ; Archibald Cox: Conscience of a Nation, 1997) appears in remarkable possession of every detail pertinent to this complex story, beginning with Jim McDougal’s ill-fated 1978 Whitewater land development and ending with a still-secret Department of Justice investigation of the Starr deputies’ initial interview of Monica Lewinsky. An acknowledged expert on special prosecutors, Gormley handles the many legal aspects of this story especially well—the inner workings of Starr’s office, the strategies of the many defense lawyers representing multiple defendants and the controversial Supreme Court decision that exposed a sitting president to civil suit. He explains the unholy political warfare and the special role played by the mainstream, partisan and emerging Internet press, and he offers sharp snapshots of the many players that marched across TV screens for too many years. For most Americans, an intervening decade is perhaps insufficiently long for reintroduction to the likes of the vapid Lewinsky, her turncoat confidante Linda Tripp, her “avuncular” attorney William Ginsburg, the smarmy Webb Hubbell and the egregious Susan Carpenter-McMillan; too soon to be reminded of the stained dress, the Vince Foster suicide, “the vast right-wing conspiracy” or the details of the Starr Report. But for those wishing to understand exactly what happened during this confusing, dismal time, Gormley’s informed reporting and evenhanded analysis is the place to start.

The entire nightmare vividly recalled.

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-307-40944-7

Page Count: 800

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2009

Did you like this book?

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


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

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 13

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist


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. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?