A brisk recounting of Black activism, past and present.



A warm remembrance of a civil rights icon.

A great granddaughter of Ida B. Wells (1862-1931), Duster celebrates the life and legacy of the tireless activist, once named “one of the most dangerous Negro agitators” by the FBI. Wells, along with her husband, a lawyer and journalist, spoke out vociferously against injustice, lynching, inequality, and racism both in print (she was a newspaper publisher and editor as well as an investigative journalist) and in speeches throughout the country. She defied death threats and efforts to sully her reputation. When she protested inequality in the school system where she taught, she was fired. When she was ejected from the Whites-only “ladies’ car” of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, she sued the railroad and won only to see her victory overturned by the Tennessee Supreme Court. Wells also helped to found several significant organizations: the first all-Black suffrage club in Illinois, the Negro Fellowship League, and the NAACP. Among her widely read books was The East St. Louis Massacre: The Greatest Outrage of the Century (1917), which chronicled “the horrific slaughter of an entire Black community” and, Duster notes, “outlined oft-overlooked tensions that existed in the American North, where the first waves of the Great Migration tested the Union states’ full belief in their cause.” Wells boldly confronted presidents, pressing William McKinley to enact a federal anti-lynching law and Woodrow Wilson to support advancement for African Americans. Both efforts failed, but Wells was undaunted. “My great-grandmother’s life was not easy,” writes the author, but despite frustrations, “she stayed focused on truth-telling. She believed that her voice was important and her story needed to be heard.” In a narrative featuring generous photos and illustrations as well as reproductions of historic documents, Duster succinctly traces Wells’ legacy in the voices and efforts of many contemporary Black activists who “stand tall and let their voices be heard by those in power.”

A brisk recounting of Black activism, past and present.

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982129-82-8

Page Count: 176

Publisher: One Signal/Atria

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A solid work of investigation that, while treading well-covered ground, offers plenty of surprises.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller


An account of the last gasps of the Trump administration, completing a trilogy begun with Fear (2018) and Rage (2020).

One of Woodward and fellow Washington Post reporter Costa’s most memorable revelations comes right away: Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calling his counterpart in Beijing to assure him that even after Jan. 6 and what Milley saw as an unmistakable attempt at a coup d’état, he would keep Trump from picking a war with China. This depiction has earned much attention on the talking-heads news channels, but more significant is its follow-up: Milley did so because he was concerned that Trump “might still be looking for what Milley called a ‘Reichstag moment.’ ” Milley emerges as a stalwart protector of the Constitution who constantly courted Trump’s ire and yet somehow survived without being fired. No less concerned about Trump’s erratic behavior was Paul Ryan, the former Speaker of the House, who studied the psychiatric literature for a big takeaway: “Do not humiliate Trump in public. Humiliating a narcissist risked real danger, a frantic lashing out if he felt threatened or criticized.” Losing the 2020 election was one such humiliation, and Woodward and Costa closely track the trajectory of Trump’s reaction, from depression to howling rage to the stubborn belief that the election was rigged. There are a few other modest revelations in the book, including the fact that Trump loyalist William Barr warned him that the electorate didn’t like him. “They just think you’re a fucking asshole,” Barr told his boss. That was true enough, and the civil war that the authors recount among various offices in the White House and government reveals that Trump’s people were only ever tentatively his. All the same, the authors note, having drawn on scores of “deep background” interviews, Trump still has his base, still intends vengeance by way of a comeback, and still constitutes the peril of their title.

A solid work of investigation that, while treading well-covered ground, offers plenty of surprises.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982182-91-5

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?