Republicans particularly need to read this book; it’s not really news to the Democrats.

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THE CORROSION OF CONSERVATISM

WHY I LEFT THE RIGHT

Washington Post columnist and CNN global affairs analyst Boot (The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam, 2018, etc.) contemplates the collapse of the GOP under the poisonous influence of Donald Trump.

The author is convinced that the Republican Party will suffer repeated and devastating defeats for its embrace of extremism, conspiracymongering, ignorance, isolationism, and white nationalism. He feels those events will be necessary in order to rebuild as a center-right party. As much autobiography of a conservative as a political book, the narrative discusses Boot’s arrival in Los Angeles from the Soviet Union at age 7 and his early awakenings to politics. His intellectual heroes were William F. Buckley and George Will, and his political hero was Ronald Reagan. He went to college in Berkeley, “a town that never seemed to have left the sixties behind,” in the days of rallies and sit-ins. After writing editorials for a while, Boot joined the staff of the Christian Science Monitor. That neutral line, between opinion and news, has now been destroyed by the likes of Fox News, Infowars, and Breitbart. Added to that, the “alternative media” has become a massive phenomenon, giving rise to the populism proffered by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and others. The author’s move to the Wall Street Journal and the Council on Foreign Relations cemented his role as an uncompromising conservative. As readers follow the GOP fall through Boot’s eyes, many may wonder why it took him so long to leave. He states that the dark underside was always there. With Barry Goldwater in 1964, the GOP became a party of Southern whites, and the concept of states’ rights was nothing more than a euphemism for racism. Furthermore, the party’s refusal to support Barack Obama in his confrontation with the Kremlin contributed to the proliferation of Russian hacking. The Trump administration’s complete lack of ethics, sheer incompetence, and Cabinet toadyism are driving home the final nail.

Republicans particularly need to read this book; it’s not really news to the Democrats.

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63149-567-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Liveright/Norton

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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