An unflinching memoir that offers vital American history.




Debut author Jackson recounts incidents of sexual harassment, revealing the generational wounds that the #MeToo movement seeks to heal.

“There are all sorts of books about accomplished corporate women who are confident, powerful, one of the boys, and for whom everything goes well,” the author writes at the beginning of this memoir. “But that was not my life.” Jackson presents painful memories of corporate America between the 1970s and 2010s. Her story begins with a traditional ’50s childhood, during which, she says, her submissive mother kept house for her engineering-professor father. “I didn’t want my mother’s life of fear, abuse, subservience, and catering to him,” she remembers. “I wanted his life—my own money, a job where I was important, away from the house.” Jackson had a desire to study biology in college—a prospect that no adults in her life encouraged, despite her 4.0 GPA—and to enter a science-related field.  However, she says that as she started her career, men worked together to sabotage her—picking on her for made-up infractions, demanding sexual favors, or blaming her for their mistakes. When a higher-up decreed that he wouldn’t promote workers who didn’t have doctorates, she went back to school, only to encounter more harassment from professors, she says. Jackson goes on to share how she fought against various injustices, including age and sex discrimination. In separate sections in each chapter, she analyzes specific social and political advancements in the United States and relates them to her own life; this can feel a bit tedious as a narrative device, but it’s also useful in tracing the overall rise of feminist consciousness. References to Anita Hill’s 1991 U.S. Senate testimony and the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh emphasize the relevance of the author’s story today: “Twenty-seven years later, we were in a time warp,” she laments while reflecting on the Kavanaugh hearings. Jackson’s commiseration with younger generations of women is particularly touching when she tells of how two of her own sons were accused of sexual harassment.

An unflinching memoir that offers vital American history.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63152-662-6

Page Count: 260

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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


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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