Thorough, personality-driven reportage on policing, albeit tilted toward the police’s perspective.

NEW YORK'S FINEST

STORIES OF THE NYPD AND THE HERO COPS WHO SAVED THE CITY

Behind-the-scenes looks at key figures in the New York Police Department from the 1970s to the present.

Daly, a Daily Beast correspondent who also wrote for New York Daily News and New York Magazine, looks at the past four decades of New York’s police force through two principals. First is officer Steven McDonald, who was paralyzed from the neck down in a 1986 shooting, a moment that underscored the city’s beleaguered reputation. McDonald publicly forgave his shooter, a gesture that went some way to easing tensions between police and citizens. But perhaps more directly influential was Jack Maple, a transit officer whose rejection of the police’s bureaucracy and cliquishness led to the creation of stats-driven, proactive policing that was key to the drop in crime in the city into the 21st century. At least that’s how Daly frames it. Though he’s alert to moments when the NYPD disgraced itself (the Central Park Five, Amadou Diallo, stop and frisk), his approach is to suggest that those shortcomings were problems that a straight-talking technocrat like Maple could responsibly, if not completely, address. (Daly’s laser focus on the NYPD precludes him from exploring other economic and sociological forces.) The main problem, Daly writes, wasn’t within NYPD headquarters but at City Hall, especially during the rule of Rudolph Giuliani, who was buffoonish when he wasn’t meddling, installing inept cronies in key roles and unwinding successful efforts. He was, notes the author, “a stridently divisive figure whose rantings about zero tolerance had made him an intolerant zero. He took religious exception to a painting of the Virgin Mary in the Brooklyn Museum he had never seen and announced the formation of a ‘decency task force.’ ” Heaving various law enforcement sins onto Giuliani allows the main narrative to become occasionally hagiographic toward police, sometimes literally: When McDonald died in 2017, Daly reported on efforts to make him a candidate for sainthood.

Thorough, personality-driven reportage on policing, albeit tilted toward the police’s perspective.

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5387-6433-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Twelve

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A scattershot exercise in preaching to the choir.

THE WAR ON THE WEST

A British journalist fulminates against Black Lives Matter, critical race theory, and other threats to White privilege.

“There is an assault going on against everything to do with the Western world—its past, present, and future.” So writes Spectator associate editor Murray, whose previous books have sounded warnings against the presumed dangers of Islam and of non-Western immigration to the West. As the author argues, Westerners are supposed to take in refugees from Africa, Asia, and Latin America while being “expected to abolish themselves.” Murray soon arrives at a crux: “Historically the citizens of Europe and their offspring societies in the Americas and Australasia have been white,” he writes, while the present is bringing all sorts of people who aren’t White into the social contract. The author also takes on the well-worn subject of campus “wokeness,” a topic of considerable discussion by professors who question whether things have gone a bit too far; indeed, the campus is the locus for much of the anti-Western sentiment that Murray condemns. The author’s arguments against reparations for past damages inflicted by institutionalized slavery are particularly glib. “It comes down to people who look like the people to whom a wrong was done in history receiving money from people who look like the people who may have done the wrong,” he writes. “It is hard to imagine anything more likely to rip apart a society than attempting a wealth transfer based on this principle.” Murray does attempt to negotiate some divides reasonably, arguing against “exclusionary lines” and for Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s call for a more vigorous and welcoming civil culture. Too often, however, the author falters, as when he derides Gen. Mark Milley for saying, “I want to understand white rage. And I’m white”—perhaps forgetting the climacteric White rage that Milley monitored on January 6, 2021.

A scattershot exercise in preaching to the choir.

Pub Date: April 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-316202-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Broadside Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2022

Did you like this book?

A deceptively slender but rich argument in favor of conserving liberal ideals—and liberal government.

LIBERALISM AND ITS DISCONTENTS

The renowned political scientist and philosopher considers classical liberalism and the broad range of enemies arrayed against it.

“By ‘liberalism,’ ” writes Fukuyama, “I refer to the doctrine…that argued for the limitation of the powers of governments through law and ultimately constitutions, creating institutions protecting the rights of individuals living under their jurisdiction.” Born of events such as the English civil war and the Enlightenment, this liberalism also encouraged diversity of thought, religion, and ethnicity, placing it squarely in the crosshairs of today’s authoritarian nationalists, not least Donald Trump. Fukuyama has often been identified with conservative causes, but his thinking here is democratic to the core, and he has no use for such pathetic lies as Trump’s insistence that the 2020 election was stolen. That said, the author notes that liberalism has many enemies on both the left and the right for numerous real yet correctable failings. The neoliberalism that has emerged over the past couple of generations has accelerated inequality, and numerous institutions have been eroded while others, such as the Electoral College, have been revealed to be anti-democratic. Both left and right, the author argues, have trouble accepting that governing over diversity, the hallmark of liberalism, means governing over many ethnic and national groups, strata of income, and competing interests. He adds, however, “Left-of-center voters…remain much more diverse” in political outlook. Essential to a liberal society, Fukuyama insists, is the right to vote: “Voting rights are fundamental rights that need to be defended by the power of the national government.” While he insists that individual rights take precedence over group rights, he also observes that the social contract demands citizen participation. To the conservative charge that the social contract is one thing but the “common moral horizon” another, he answers that yes, liberalism does not insist on a single morality—which “is indeed a feature and not a bug.”

A deceptively slender but rich argument in favor of conserving liberal ideals—and liberal government.

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-374-60671-8

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more