A provocative addition to the literature of race, racism, and resistance.

An Afro-Jewish philosopher looks at Black consciousness and the struggle against pervasive White supremacist social structures.

“Racism is the institutional production of nonhuman status to groups of human beings,” writes Gordon, head of the philosophy department at the University of Connecticut, “with the consequence of a ‘race’ or set of ‘races’ being treated as inferior or superior to others.” Certainly, that is manifest in most working definitions of White supremacy, although, as he adds, these days most adherents of that doctrine prefer somewhat blander terms such as alt-right or white nationalism. Furthermore, argues the author, that racism exists on the left as well as the right. He suggests that small-b black consciousness accommodates this system, whereas what is needed is “to become actional, to fight against oppression”—i.e., to take up the cause of a capital-B Black consciousness that repudiates all ideas of White supremacy and Black inferiority. Gordon stretches a bit, though in the end convincingly, to incorporate the film Black Panther into this evolution. The author sometimes paints with too wide a brush, as when he asserts that “whites want everything,” a charge that would certainly risk alienating well-meaning allies. Nonetheless, the author has a keen understanding of the supremacist playbook, which draws on a range of old-school and neofascist sources to arrive at the maxim that the only way to make oneself superior is to make another inferior. Here, Gordon broadens the discussion to include intersectionality and the “understanding that race is connected to a multitude of other ways of living in the Euromodern world, including class, gender, indigeneity, and sexuality,” with new discriminations at each juncture. Racism is not supremacism as such, he holds, but both can be defeated with the new Black consciousness that both of them fear.

A provocative addition to the literature of race, racism, and resistance.

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-374-15902-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021


Dillard’s story reflects maturity and understanding from someone who was forced to mature and understand too much too soon.

A measured memoir from a daughter of the famous family.

Growing up in the Institute of Basic Life Principles community, which she came to realize was “a cult, thriving on a culture of fear and manipulation,” Duggar and her 18 siblings were raised never to question parental authority. As the author recalls, she felt no need to, describing the loving home of her girlhood. When a documentary crew approached her father, Jim Bob, and proposed first a series of TV specials that would be called 17 Kids and Counting (later 18 and 19 Kids and Counting), he agreed, telling his family that this was a chance to share their conservative Christian faith. It was also a chance to become wealthy, but Jill, who was dedicated to following the rules, didn’t question where the money went. A key to her falling out with her family was orchestrated by Jim Bob, who introduced her to missionary Derick Dillard. Their wedding was one of the most-watched episodes of the series. Even though she was an adult, Jill’s parents and the show continued to expect more of the young couple. When they attempted to say no to filming some aspects of their lives, Jill discovered that a sheet of paper her father asked her to sign the day before her wedding was part of a contract in which she had unwittingly agreed to full cooperation. Writing about her sex offender brother, Josh, and the legal action she and Derick had to take to get their questions answered, Jill describes how she was finally able—through therapy, prayer, and the establishment of boundaries—to reconcile love for her parents with Jim Bob’s deception and reframe her faith outside the IBLP.

Dillard’s story reflects maturity and understanding from someone who was forced to mature and understand too much too soon.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9781668024447

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023


If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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