More than just a war story; a harrowing examination of the tolls of the world’s conflicts.

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ON THE FRONT LINE

THE COLLECTED JOURNALISM OF MARIE COLVIN

A small but crucial sampling of war reporting by one of the finest journalists of her generation.

Marie Colvin (1956–2012) was one hell of a reporter, right up to the point where she was killed by an IED while under intense shelling by the Syrian government. This collection only scratches the surface of nearly 20 years of war reporting for the Sunday Times, but it’s a remarkable portrait of the raw wounds of conflicts that burn on, even in times the Western world considers to be “peace.” The collection is sensibly divided into both chronological and geographical sections, and it spans the globe. If there was a hot spot in the world, Colvin seems to have gotten there, from the war in Libya to the genocides in Kosovo to the disproportionate response of Moscow to the Chechen uprisings. There are unusual interviews with figures like Yasser Arafat and Muammar Gadhafi, but one of Colvin’s many gifts was ferreting out the story of the common people suffering through unimaginable horrors—e.g., the girls raped as the result of systemized terror under Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe; the untrained, illiterate forces of the Afghani military expected to take over for the full force and fury of the American incursion. If journalists are expected to suffer for their stories, Colvin paid the full price for capturing these stories: Her nose was broken by a rock thrown by Palestinian demonstrators while she was posing as a Jewish settler; her eye was punctured by shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade in Sri Lanka, an event that led to her iconic eye patch. In her 2001 acceptance speech for a humanitarian award for courage, she pondered whether the stories were worth the damage: “Simply: there’s no way to cover war properly without risk. Covering a war means going into places torn apart by chaos, destruction, death and pain, and trying to bear witness to that.”

More than just a war story; a harrowing examination of the tolls of the world’s conflicts.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-00-748796-7

Page Count: 560

Publisher: HarperCollins 360

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2013

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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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BECOMING

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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