An often intemperate account that will please Hillary-bashers and provide timely fodder for the upcoming Republican-led...



Veteran journalist Timmerman (Shadow Warriors: The Untold Story of Traitors, Saboteurs, and the Party of Surrender, 2007, etc.) offers a blistering indictment of the Obama administration’s handling of the deadly 2012 event now known simply as “Benghazi.”

On Sept, 11, 2012, four Americans, including the United States ambassador, were killed in attacks on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. The White House and State Department claim that the attack—already the subject of several Congressional investigations and soon to be probed again by House Republicans—was a protest turned violent over an anti-Islam YouTube video. Drawing on interviews with sources in the region, Timmerman argues that Benghazi was a well-planned, state-sponsored terrorist attack by the Islamic Republic of Iran. He also claims that President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knew that terrorists were behind the attack but made up the spontaneous protest cover story to preserve the appearance of success in their anti-terrorist policies. It was the eve of the 2012 presidential election, and Obama had claimed that the “tide of war [was] receding.” Benghazi, writes the author, is “the deepest, the darkest, and the dirtiest political scandal of recent American history.” Viewing post-Gadhafi Libya as approaching “normal” status, the State Department ignored pleas for greater security for American diplomats and facilities when in fact Libya was “spinning wildly out of control,” with “heavily armed street thugs” roaming neighborhoods. The Benghazi compound was left to defend itself by a secretary of state who wanted only to celebrate a success story for the November election and then “prepare her own coronation as the first female president…in 2016.” Timmerman navigates the complex story of Libya’s role in the period as an arms bazaar for terrorists and faults U.S. policymakers for trying to distinguish between violent and nonviolent Islamist groups.

An often intemperate account that will please Hillary-bashers and provide timely fodder for the upcoming Republican-led Benghazi investigation.

Pub Date: June 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-232119-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Broadside Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.


“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.



Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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