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Sometimes overly gushing and perhaps premature but bolstered with enough evidence.

An overview of President Barack Obama’s two-term presidency: his successes, failures, and incompletions.

Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist D’Antonio (Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success, 2015 etc.) takes a broad, generous look at the entire Obama administration and finds many solid arguments that he indeed delivered the “change” that he promised in 2008. Amazingly, Obama did not allow the GOP obstructionism to wreck his presidency, as planned by Mitch McConnell, who vowed that Obama’s presidency would be “divisive and controversial.” For example, the new president was able to pass the much-needed economic Recovery Act as one of his first acts, thanks to the still-Democratic majority in Congress. His bailout of the auto industry was much criticized at the time, and its startling success prompted the Economist, which argued that “GM deserved extinction,” to apologize in its pages one year later. While many had voted Obama in to wage a “revolution” and then were disappointed at the slow pace, D’Antonio shows how, over the course of the eight years of Obama’s presidency, the accumulation of accomplishments proved to be revolutionary—e.g., his ability to pass health care reform when previous leaders could not manage it, galvanize the alternative-energy fields of wind and solar power “after decades of promise” by previous presidents to wean the country off oil, and draw back the troops in the Middle East. The recognition of the causes of global warming and the science behind it proved liberating for the environmental movement (e.g., at the climate conference in Paris in 2015), while the execution of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden galled the Republicans to no end. The author also looks at Obama’s mixed results in education and financial reform, gun control, and the long-promised closure of Guantánamo Bay prison. On the other hand, the president evolved courageously in human rights such as LGBT equality and equal pay for women.

Sometimes overly gushing and perhaps premature but bolstered with enough evidence.

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-08139-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Oct. 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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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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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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