Kumin makes some thorny history go down easily.

ALL STIRRED UP

SUFFRAGE COOKBOOKS, FOOD, AND THE BATTLE FOR WOMEN'S RIGHT TO VOTE

Part cookbook and part spirited history lesson, this book examines a little-known aspect of the women's suffrage movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Among the many techniques used by American suffragists to persuade voters was the production and distribution of “suffrage cookbooks” with titles such as Little Tastes of Enfranchisement. Kumin, a former Washington, D.C., attorney who now teaches cooking and food history, makes a case for the importance of “mainstream” suffragists, who often play second fiddle to their more colorful “militant” sisters in history books. The author opens with an extensive timeline of the history of the suffrage movement in the U.S., including not just noteworthy political events, but such culinary landmarks as the invention of the Moon Pie (1917) and the opening of the first A&W root beer stand (1919). Kumin intersperses the history of the movement with sizable collections of recipes in categories such as “Breads, Breakfast, and Brunch” and “Condiments, Pickles, and Preserves.” For each recipe, the author provides the original and a modern reinterpretation, often tossing in more vegetables and seasonings and including more detailed instructions. Some readers might complain that the portion of the book devoted to analysis of significant cookbooks and booklets and their roles in the suffrage movement is relatively small compared to the pages devoted to rehashing others' studies of the movement as a whole—not to mention that many of the recipes are comparable to others of the day. However, it’s difficult to question the author’s enthusiasm and impossible to resist the kind of historical tidbits that pop up frequently along the way—e.g., novelist Jack London's recipe for stuffed celery, which he suggests is “a very appropriate prelude to a dinner of roast duck.”

Kumin makes some thorny history go down easily.

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64313-452-9

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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

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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

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A cogent overview of the court’s crucial role, the application of which is sure to be discussed among scholars.

THE AUTHORITY OF THE COURT AND THE PERIL OF POLITICS

Why the Supreme Court deserves the public’s trust.

Based on his 2021 lecture at Harvard Law School, Supreme Court Justice Breyer offers a selected history of court cases, a defense of judicial impartiality, and recommendations for promoting the public’s respect for and acceptance of the role of the judiciary in the future. The author regrets that many Americans see the justices as “unelected political officials or ‘junior varsity’ politicians themselves, rather than jurists,” asserting that “nearly all” justices apply “the basic same interpretive tools” to decide a case: “They will consider the statute’s text, its history, relevant legal tradition, precedents, the statute’s purposes (or the values that underlie it), and the relevant consequences.” Although Breyer maintains that all try to avoid the influence of ideology or political philosophy, he acknowledges that suggesting “a total and clean divorce between the Court and politics is not quite right either,” since a justice’s background, education, and experiences surely affect their views, especially when considering the consequences of a decision. The judicial process, Breyer explains, begins as a conference held once or twice each week where substantive discussion leads to preliminary conclusions. Sometimes, in order to find a majority, the court will take a minimalist perspective, allowing those who differ “on the broader legal questions to come together in answering narrower ones.” Noting that, in 2016, only 1 in 4 Americans could name the three branches of federal government, Breyer suggests a revival of civics education in schools so that students can learn how government works and what the rule of law is. He believes that confidence in government will result from citizens’ participation in public life: by voting, taking part in local governance such as school boards, and resolving their differences through argument, debate, cooperation, and compromise, all of which are “the embodiment of the democratic ideal.”

A cogent overview of the court’s crucial role, the application of which is sure to be discussed among scholars.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-674-26936-1

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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