An armchair historian delivers a remarkably compelling story of justice denied.

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THE TRUE STORY OF TOKYO ROSE

A debut historical work focuses on the woman who was turned into World War II’s legendary Tokyo Rose.

The name Tokyo Rose conjures up images of a powerfully seductive Japanese woman demoralizing homesick American soldiers through radio propaganda during the brutal years of World War II in the Pacific. How that label was affixed to Iva Toguri, a Japanese American, is a tragic and complicated story recounted by Weedall in this book. Toguri may have been guilty of naiveté and misplaced faith in the American judicial system, but she was primarily a victim of consistently being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In July 1941, as a 25-year-old aspiring medical student, she dutifully obeyed her parents and went to Japan to bring greetings and gifts from her prosperous family to her aunt’s poor one. Her stay there was a disaster, and for several months, Toguri tried to return to the United States, but there were obstacles. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, she could not return home and became an enemy alien. Abandoned by her relatives, she refused to renounce her American citizenship. She was coerced into working for Radio Tokyo as one of the many Japanese American women who introduced songs and read copy on frequent broadcasts. She tried covertly to sabotage all propaganda efforts and was under constant pressure from her Japanese bosses. At the war’s end, she became a hapless victim of intense anti-Japanese sentiment, spearheaded by the powerful tabloid columnist Walter Winchell, and, through perjured testimony and FBI misconduct, was tried and convicted of treason in a biased court proceeding. Toguri served time in prison and was paroled in 1956. She was finally granted a presidential pardon in 1977. The story is gripping, and Weedall recounts Toguri’s years of isolation, prison, and particularly her Kafkaesque trial with excellent pacing and a keen eye for drama. The prosecutor told the jury: “This is one of the most despicable cases of treason against our country at a time of national emergency.” The singular focus on Toguri omits some historical context: The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings are only mentioned in one sentence. Undated chapters often leave readers unclear of the precise chronology. But while the mostly fictionalized dialogue is sometimes strained, the court proceedings and testimony are well documented, providing rich and evocative details.

An armchair historian delivers a remarkably compelling story of justice denied.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1643882918

Page Count: 308

Publisher: Luminare Press

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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