An engaging memoir of not just a fascinating woman, but a history of a movement.

BLACK POWER, BLACK LAWYER

MY AUDACIOUS QUEST FOR JUSTICE

The memoir of a Black Nationalist, reformer, and lawyer.

Taifa’s life reflects the dual story of a reformer on the inside of a discriminatory system and that of a Black Nationalist revolutionary. As such, her memoir takes readers to dining room tables accompanied by Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, to early Kwanzaa celebrations at the Temple of the Black Messiah, and to behind-the-scenes meetings of the Black separatist Republic of New Afrika, while later taking them to the Roosevelt Room of the White House, to meetings with Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and to Taifa’s work as a policy analyst for billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Foundation. Personally involved in a variety of Black Nationalist groups in the 1970s, and later working for decades as a lawyer advocating criminal justice reform, Taifa’s memoir is not just a retelling of her own life’s story, but serves as a vital history of the post-1960s fight for Black liberation. It is, in her own words, “part memoir, part textbook, part study guide, part exposé,”[xii] as she weaves her own story into the wider history of Nationalists like H. Rap Brown, Angela Davis, Chokwe Lumumba, and Assata Shakur. The work also discusses a more internal struggle of a Black Nationalist woman who spent years “on the cutting-edge of revolutionary action,” but whose legal career for change inside the system often requires her to play the part of a “responsible” reformer.[4] Nor does she hold back on her personal life, openly discussing her experiences with sexual abuse, two failed marriages, and a frantic hunt for a missing sex-tape. Nearly every chapter is richly adorned with historical photographs or snapshots of the author with an assortment of Black revolutionary celebrities. Original poetry, mostly centered on Black Nationalist and Pan-African themes, is similarly sprinkled throughout her narrative. While Taifa’s bold attempt to tell both her own story and that of a larger history of the Black experience can be at times cumbersome, this is nevertheless a powerful, important book.

An engaging memoir of not just a fascinating woman, but a history of a movement.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 396

Publisher: House of Songhay II

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 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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