MacPherson is fearless herself in considering such contradictions as a muckraking millionaire, delivering a welcome and...

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“ALL GOVERNMENTS LIE”

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF REBEL JOURNALIST I.F. STONE

“I don’t think the primary job of a free journalist in a free society is digging out the dirt. . . . The primary job is not to disgrace anybody or defame them, but to provide understanding.”

So said the fearless journalist Isador Feinstein Stone (1907–89), “Izzy” to his friends. Throughout his long life, writes MacPherson (She Came to Live Out Loud, 1999, etc.), Stone had fewer friends than enemies. He was hired as a newsman at the tender age of 15, thanks to a friendship with a wealthy patron that began over a smart-alecky remark and a volume of Spinoza; his devotion to the classics and fierce repartee would become lifelong trademarks. Stone went on to write for a range of liberal publications, including the short-lived PM, traveling illegally with Holocaust survivors to Palestine, later confounding his admirers by reporting on Palestinians displaced by the newcomers. He attained greater renown in the 1950s, when he tangled with Joe McCarthy, HUAC and Richard Nixon and was tagged a Communist for his troubles; MacPherson takes pains to refute the charge that Stone was a Soviet spy, reserving special scorn for Ann Coulter, “the Queen of Sleaze,” for reviving it recently. Stone was, of course, squarely on the left, though, in what he called the “time of torment” of Vietnam; he alienated New Leftists by his insistence on working within the system and by scorning protestors who used “such antics as displaying Vietcong flags, disrupting courtrooms, shouting obscenities and other obnoxious patterns of conduct.” (A niece of his, Weather Underground figure Kathy Boudin, would serve 22 years in prison for murder.) Proved right about official lies concerning Vietnam, Watergate and kindred matters, Stone gained enough readers of his famed Weekly to make him rich in old age—and something of an Establishment figure.

MacPherson is fearless herself in considering such contradictions as a muckraking millionaire, delivering a welcome and readable study of the influential journalist, ever missed.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-684-80713-0

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2006

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

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

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

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