Lapsed Trump supporters might well open their minds to this attorney’s scholarly, entirely convincing proof of the damage...

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THE UNMAKING OF THE PRESIDENT 2016

HOW FBI DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY COST HILLARY CLINTON THE PRESIDENCY

The former special counsel to former President Bill Clinton takes on the 2016 election and James Comey’s effect on the outcome.

According to Davis (Close-Up: Twelve Months at Yale, 2017, etc.), the negative effect is indisputable, and he has the data, compiled both before and well after the election, to back up his claims. While he occasionally tumbles into legal jargon, he provides compelling criticism of the FBI, the New York Times, and others. The seed was sown on March 3, 2015, when the Times published a story about Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email account at the State Department. Davis shows how there was a precedent and that the account was legal and never hacked. It was eventually proven that none of the 55,000 emails were marked as classified; they were also never “missing.” The legislation requiring submission of records within 60 days of leaving office was amended after Clinton left the State Department, and 50,000 pages were submitted within one month of the change. The author next follows the statements and letters of Comey. The tumult over the March story died down until the Times published another story in late July claiming that two officials within the intelligence community recommended a “criminal referral” concerning Clinton’s handling of the emails; that story was based on a leak. The officials released a joint public statement contradicting the Times story, and the FBI quietly opened a criminal investigation. Comey’s statements about the investigation(s) were, in the words of a former prosecutor who worked for him, “an unprecedented public announcement by a non-prosecutor that there would be no prosecution.” Indeed, he violated several long-standing Department of Justice practices of never confirming or denying existence of an investigation and to do nothing in the 60 days prior to a presidential election. The author’s epilogue, “It’s Time for an Impeachment and Twenty-Fifth Amendment Investigation,” is surprisingly calming.

Lapsed Trump supporters might well open their minds to this attorney’s scholarly, entirely convincing proof of the damage done.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7772-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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

NIGHT

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

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