TRUST ME

CHARLES KEATING AND THE GREAT AMERICAN BANK ROBBERY

A largely successful effort to bring to book the renegade financier whose arrogance, depredations, and political connections made him the apotheosis of the white-collar criminals who laid waste to America's thrift institutions. Drawing on access to their subject, as well to his associates and prosecutors, Binstein (columnist Jack Anderson's collaborator) and Bowden (The Secret Forest, p. 270, etc.) offer a detailed rundown on Charles Keating's life and times. They track the errant banker from a hard-scrabble Catholic boyhood in Cincinnati through stateside service as a Navy pilot during WW II and his upward climb as an on-the-make lawyer. Early on, Keating allied himself with Carl Lindner, a low-profile buccaneer who built American Financial Corp. This partnership prospered, then soured, driving Keating to Arizona, where he set up shop as a homebuilder. Sensing the opportunities opened up by deregulation, he acquired Lincoln Savings & Loan during the early 1980's. Using that institution's federally insured deposits to satisfy his merchant-banking ambitions, Keating proved an immensely inept, albeit awesomely prodigal, wheeler-dealer. Eventually nailed by authorities, he was tried, convicted, and sentenced to prison on a wealth of charges. The authors leave little doubt that, in many respects, Keating's career defies comprehension—he was an ostensibly devoted family man and tireless campaigner against pornography, for instance, who persistently flouted securities and banking laws and who suborned both elected and appointed officials. In like vein, Binstein and Bowden recount how a pillar of rectitude was at boozy ease in pleasure domes from Las Vegas to Monte Carlo. Whether Keating managed to divert significant amounts of the megabuck sums he squandered on failed enterprises to his own or his family's account, however, remains an open question. As complete and satisfying a wrap-up as is likely to be available any time soon on the man who, arguably, played the leading role in the S&L debacle.

Pub Date: June 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-679-41699-4

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1993

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE

Straight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism.

In her feisty debut book, Oluo, essayist, blogger, and editor at large at the Establishment magazine, writes from the perspective of a black, queer, middle-class, college-educated woman living in a “white supremacist country.” The daughter of a white single mother, brought up in largely white Seattle, she sees race as “one of the most defining forces” in her life. Throughout the book, Oluo responds to questions that she has often been asked, and others that she wishes were asked, about racism “in our workplace, our government, our homes, and ourselves.” “Is it really about race?” she is asked by whites who insist that class is a greater source of oppression. “Is police brutality really about race?” “What is cultural appropriation?” and “What is the model minority myth?” Her sharp, no-nonsense answers include talking points for both blacks and whites. She explains, for example, “when somebody asks you to ‘check your privilege’ they are asking you to pause and consider how the advantages you’ve had in life are contributing to your opinions and actions, and how the lack of disadvantages in certain areas is keeping you from fully understanding the struggles others are facing.” She unpacks the complicated term “intersectionality”: the idea that social justice must consider “a myriad of identities—our gender, class, race, sexuality, and so much more—that inform our experiences in life.” She asks whites to realize that when people of color talk about systemic racism, “they are opening up all of that pain and fear and anger to you” and are asking that they be heard. After devoting most of the book to talking, Oluo finishes with a chapter on action and its urgency. Action includes pressing for reform in schools, unions, and local governments; boycotting businesses that exploit people of color; contributing money to social justice organizations; and, most of all, voting for candidates who make “diversity, inclusion and racial justice a priority.”

A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58005-677-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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