If you’re puzzled why the sitting president isn’t going after the Russians for election tampering and other bad behavior,...

RUSSIAN ROULETTE

THE INSIDE STORY OF PUTIN'S WAR ON AMERICA AND THE ELECTION OF DONALD TRUMP

An eye-popping exposé of what amounts to a Cabinet appointment for Vladimir Putin in the Trump White House.

The facts are being revealed daily: In one bit of fresh Trump news uncovered by Yahoo News investigative reporter Isikoff and Mother Jones Washington bureau chief Corn (co-authors: Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War, 2006), Russian authorities lobbied the incoming administration extensively for a Putin regime–friendly secretary of state, and voilà, Rex Tillerson was appointed. That Tillerson is out of office is just one denouement of a tale that may start with the premise, as one intelligence insider put it, that the White House is now occupied by a “Manchurian candidate.” And why might Trump be so characterized? There lies the meat of this book, a careful, piece-by-piece look at the business dealings between Russia and various tentacles of Trump’s shady business empire, including attempted spinoffs from the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow that collectively explain “Trump’s unwavering sympathy for the Russian strongman”—a sympathy that includes refusing to enforce congressionally mandated sanctions. Quite simply, write the authors, “Trump would not criticize the man whose permission he would need to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.” Tied up in what is a resounding refusal to put national interests over personal ones are a mess of related circumstances, including side notes on Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, Edward Snowden, and the Panama Papers; Barack Obama’s failure to act on intelligence that reported Russian infiltration of the American electoral process; an unhurried intelligence apparatus that assumed that Hillary Clinton was going to win; and now, a compromised president who, for all his protestations to the contrary, seems thoroughly in the pocket of the Russian government. “Never before,” write the authors, “had a president’s election been so closely linked to the intervention of a foreign power.”

If you’re puzzled why the sitting president isn’t going after the Russians for election tampering and other bad behavior, this is just the book to explain.

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5387-2875-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Twelve

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2018

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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