An engrossing anthology of work, full of intimate details, from veterans of magazine journalism.

THE STORIES WE TELL

CLASSIC TRUE TALES BY AMERICA'S GREATEST WOMEN JOURNALISTS

An anthology of landmark long-form articles written by female journalists.

Sims, herself a published journalist, has put together an anthology of magazine pieces by female writers. Some of the names will be well-known to readers—Joan Didion, Susan Orlean, Gloria Steinem. The essays contrast with each other in meaningful ways: murderers and survivors of murder attempts, famous and little-known figures in American history, high school students and a woman dying of Alzheimer’s. The caliber of work makes this collection a master class in the sort of long-form journalism that is published in magazines like the New Yorker and Vanity Fair, where many of these pieces were first seen. The diversity of subjects illustrates the breadth of work that is done by female journalists; it includes subjects and topics that historically might have been assigned to male journalists (such as “Soul Survivor,” Isabel Wilkerson’s profile of Black Power activist Kwame Ture, formerly known as Stokely Carmichael). There is a helpful table of contents with summaries of the stories, and short biographies of the writers precede each piece. Some essays were published recently, like “Yuja Wang and the Art of Performance,” Janet Malcolm’s profile of the young concert pianist from 2016, and others are older, like “Mrs. Kennedy at the Moment,” Gloria Steinem’s profile of Jacqueline Kennedy’s life after JFK’s assassination, which ran in 1964. (It would have been helpful if the book listed where and when each piece originally ran.) Standout stories aside from those already mentioned include “The Last Day,” Robin Marantz Henig’s story of a woman determined to end her own life after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and “The Cheerleaders” by E. Jean Carroll, a heartbreaking account of a connected series of murders and suicides in Dryden, New York. Particularly wrenching is the description of a young survivor who yelled into the author’s tape recorder, “This is reality, people! This really happened, OK?” It brings the emotional work these writers do sharply into focus.

An engrossing anthology of work, full of intimate details, from veterans of magazine journalism.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2017

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 385

Publisher: The Sager Group

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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 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

Did you like this book?

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

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

more