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Timely, essential reading.

“Knowing the story of why freedom of the press was important to the founding fathers…and how it has stayed a strong principle in American law and culture can help us understand its value today.”

This efficient text (an introduction and nine short chapters, buttressed by a timeline) offers an excellent foray into the hows and whys of U.S. press freedom, beginning just prior to nationhood. The accessible, mostly chronological text is full of short quotations from both primary and secondary sources. It includes excellent definitions, informative sidebars, and archival photographs. The ebb and flow of press freedoms over the course of the country’s history are combined with succinct history of the means of communication, from printing on paper all the way through to today’s social media. Careful scholarship links big questions about balancing transparency and national security to wartime reporting, the Pentagon Papers, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, and more. The text warns about today’s citizens’ reading and listening only to outlets that support their own views and how that endangers democracy. President Donald Trump’s media provocations are discussed along with the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the work of Reporters Without Borders. Two cases involving high schoolers’ freedoms are explored. A particularly noteworthy sidebar offers guidance on how readers can determine the accuracy of their news. For optimal use, readers should first have a rudimentary understanding of U.S. civics, which perhaps makes it better suited to middle and high school than elementary readers.

Timely, essential reading. (index, select bibliography) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3689-6

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Catnip for scandal junkies, with a bit of historical perspective stirred in.

A gleefully explicit catalogue of the past century’s headline-grabbing bad behavior.

Aimed at readers who don’t need to be told who Brangelina is but may be hazy on “twisted besties” Leopold and Loeb or even Monica Lewinsky, this edutaining survey presents a wide-angle array of murders, sexual follies, controversial trials, race violence, political corruption and general envelope-pushing from the 1906 killing of Stanford White on. Each of the chronologically arranged entries opens with a capsule “Scoop” followed by a slightly fuller account under a “What Went Down” header. Along with a small black-and-white photo and one or two sidebar quotes, the author tacks on subsequent developments, sometimes-perceptive suggestions about “Why We Still Care” and a short roster of similar incidents in recent history. Though she misspells “Symbionese” and repeatedly awards FDR only three Presidential wins, in general Fryd presents reasonably accurate summaries of events and issues while giving all sides of the more muddled conflicts at least a nod. Additional cred is provided by a teen panel of editorial advisors.

Catnip for scandal junkies, with a bit of historical perspective stirred in. (index) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9827322-0-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Zest/Orange Avenue

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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Fans of all things martial will echo his “HOOYAH!”—but the troubled aftermath comes in for some attention too.

Abridged but not toned down, this young-readers version of an ex-SEAL sniper’s account (SEAL Team Six, 2011) of his training and combat experiences in Operation Desert Storm and the first Battle of Mogadishu makes colorful, often compelling reading.

“My experiences weren’t always enjoyable,” Wasdin writes, “but they were always adrenaline-filled!” Not to mention testosterone-fueled. He goes on to ascribe much of his innate toughness to being regularly beaten by his stepfather as a child and punctuates his passage through the notoriously hellacious SEAL training with frequent references to other trainees who fail or drop out. He tears into the Clinton administration (whose “support for our troops had sagged like a sack of turds”), indecisive commanders and corrupt Italian “allies” for making such a hash of the entire Somalian mission. In later chapters he retraces his long, difficult physical and emotional recovery from serious wounds received during the “Black Hawk Down” operation, his increasing focus on faith and family after divorce and remarriage and his second career as a chiropractor.

Fans of all things martial will echo his “HOOYAH!”—but the troubled aftermath comes in for some attention too. (acronym/ordinance glossary, adult level reading list) (Memoir. 12-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-250-01643-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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