Bard presses every hot button in this incendiary exposé.




A tenaciously argued screed on the “malign influence” of the Arab lobby—specifically that of Saudi Arabia—on U.S. government policy.

In a pointed response to John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s equally scathing The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (2007), Bard (48 Hours of Kristallnacht, 2008, etc.) goes full throttle in pursuit of what he sees as a more insidious, if less vociferous behind-the-scenes lobby by the masters of Gulf oil and foes of Israel. While the pro-Israel lobby is centrally located in the extremely powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), characterized by the author as “open…transparent” and “extra-governmental,” the Arab lobby is a “many-headed hydra” whose “machinations are often difficult, if not impossible, to trace.” America’s interest in the Middle East grew out of its need for oil, rather than in any “chimerical” notions about the Holy Land, Bard writes, and thus its protection of the Saudi royal family since World War II is engrained in its national interest. The first Arab lobby efforts grew out of the Arab states’ alarm at the creation of Israel, and they used their oil might to blackmail the United States (“The Saudis have had us over a barrel from the moment of the first gusher”). The author looks carefully at the Arab states’ flexing of muscle during the embargo crisis of 1973 and boycott of Israel, the Saudi pressure to buy U.S. arms and President Carter’s pro-Palestinian “conversion.” Moreover, Bard contends, the creation of the Arab lobby coincided with the nascent years of the United Nations, which he sees as universally hostile to Israel concerns. After the Six Day War of 1967, the Arab lobby split between what he calls the “petrodiplomatic complex” and those Arab Americans supporting a Palestinian national consciousness. The author enumerates many acronym-heavy groups, including those he ascertains support Islamic terrorism. He also lists political campaigns and universities that have received heavy Arab (read: Saudi) funding, and he argues for an end to the heretofore ineffectual “policy of appeasement and indulgence of the Saudis and other Arabs.”

Bard presses every hot button in this incendiary exposé.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-06-172601-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.


Straight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism.

In her feisty debut book, Oluo, essayist, blogger, and editor at large at the Establishment magazine, writes from the perspective of a black, queer, middle-class, college-educated woman living in a “white supremacist country.” The daughter of a white single mother, brought up in largely white Seattle, she sees race as “one of the most defining forces” in her life. Throughout the book, Oluo responds to questions that she has often been asked, and others that she wishes were asked, about racism “in our workplace, our government, our homes, and ourselves.” “Is it really about race?” she is asked by whites who insist that class is a greater source of oppression. “Is police brutality really about race?” “What is cultural appropriation?” and “What is the model minority myth?” Her sharp, no-nonsense answers include talking points for both blacks and whites. She explains, for example, “when somebody asks you to ‘check your privilege’ they are asking you to pause and consider how the advantages you’ve had in life are contributing to your opinions and actions, and how the lack of disadvantages in certain areas is keeping you from fully understanding the struggles others are facing.” She unpacks the complicated term “intersectionality”: the idea that social justice must consider “a myriad of identities—our gender, class, race, sexuality, and so much more—that inform our experiences in life.” She asks whites to realize that when people of color talk about systemic racism, “they are opening up all of that pain and fear and anger to you” and are asking that they be heard. After devoting most of the book to talking, Oluo finishes with a chapter on action and its urgency. Action includes pressing for reform in schools, unions, and local governments; boycotting businesses that exploit people of color; contributing money to social justice organizations; and, most of all, voting for candidates who make “diversity, inclusion and racial justice a priority.”

A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58005-677-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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