A riveting portrait of ambition, hubris, betrayal, and the downfall of an American president.

KING RICHARD

AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY

A seasoned journalist tackles one of the most notorious political scandals in American history.

In his latest, self-described “presidential crisis historian” Dobbs, former Washington Post reporter and author of a trilogy of nonfiction books about the Cold War, delivers a spellbinding account of the 100 days following Richard Nixon's second inaugural. Fresh off one of the biggest landslides in U.S. history, the president went right back to work waging “all-out war against his political enemies” and trying to secure his legacy of brokered peace with Vietnam and the opening of relations with China. As the weeks passed, however, details emerged about break-ins at Democratic National Committee headquarters, prompting the burglars and their handlers in the administration to turn on each other as paranoia set in. To this day, there is no conclusive proof that Nixon directly ordered the espionage, but “there is little doubt that he set in motion the chain of events” that led to it. Divided into four “acts,” this masterful book and its title summon the Shakespearean tragedy in which the most powerful man in the world built himself up and then self-destructed. Familiar actors in this drama, which never seems to lose its excitement across the decades, include G. Gordon Liddy, John Dean, Jeb Magruder, and H.R. Haldeman. Of course, the primary focus is Nixon, the son of poor Southern California Quakers who rose to the nation’s highest office only to leave forever disgraced. Dobbs admits that his book is not meant to be an exhaustive account like Stanley Kutler’s The Wars of Watergate. Rather, the author delivers an intimate, engrossing picture of Nixon as a visionary man “obsessed with privacy and solitude,” an affectionate husband and father, and a gut-fighting outsider mystified by power and all its trappings, styling himself as a kind of blend of Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Disraeli, and Charles de Gaulle.

A riveting portrait of ambition, hubris, betrayal, and the downfall of an American president.

Pub Date: May 25, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-385-35009-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

A WEALTH OF PIGEONS

A CARTOON COLLECTION

The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A top-notch political memoir and serious exercise in practical politics for every reader.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 55

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

A PROMISED LAND

In the first volume of his presidential memoir, Obama recounts the hard path to the White House.

In this long, often surprisingly candid narrative, Obama depicts a callow youth spent playing basketball and “getting loaded,” his early reading of difficult authors serving as a way to impress coed classmates. (“As a strategy for picking up girls, my pseudo-intellectualism proved mostly worthless,” he admits.) Yet seriousness did come to him in time and, with it, the conviction that America could live up to its stated aspirations. His early political role as an Illinois state senator, itself an unlikely victory, was not big enough to contain Obama’s early ambition, nor was his term as U.S. Senator. Only the presidency would do, a path he painstakingly carved out, vote by vote and speech by careful speech. As he writes, “By nature I’m a deliberate speaker, which, by the standards of presidential candidates, helped keep my gaffe quotient relatively low.” The author speaks freely about the many obstacles of the race—not just the question of race and racism itself, but also the rise, with “potent disruptor” Sarah Palin, of a know-nothingism that would manifest itself in an obdurate, ideologically driven Republican legislature. Not to mention the meddlings of Donald Trump, who turns up in this volume for his idiotic “birther” campaign while simultaneously fishing for a contract to build “a beautiful ballroom” on the White House lawn. A born moderate, Obama allows that he might not have been ideological enough in the face of Mitch McConnell, whose primary concern was then “clawing [his] way back to power.” Indeed, one of the most compelling aspects of the book, as smoothly written as his previous books, is Obama’s cleareyed scene-setting for how the political landscape would become so fractured—surely a topic he’ll expand on in the next volume.

A top-notch political memoir and serious exercise in practical politics for every reader.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6316-9

Page Count: 768

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

more