THE RISE OF A NEW LEFT

HOW YOUNG RADICALS ARE SHAPING THE FUTURE OF AMERICAN POLITICS

A well-reported introduction to a growing, controversial movement among the younger electorate.

A journalistic account of the recent emergence of a millennial cohort of progressive politicians and activists.

It’s no small irony that the swelling ranks of youthful leftists came about, at least in some measure, because of the presidential campaigns mounted by the superannuated Bernie Sanders. “As much as they admire Sanders, this new crop of left-wing…candidates are more interested in enacting his vision than imitating his personal style,” writes political journalist Lipsitz, “which, unless Sanders’s apparent artlessness counts as a style, isn’t what attracted them in the first place.” In other words, next to the rumpled Sanders, an array of well-put-together young people such as, notably, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has risen to put a fresh face on progressive politics. Some of them, such as a Buffalo-based activist, eschew “capital S” socialism. Others are quicker to embrace the label, but they also seek to run for existing political offices rather than attempt to build a larger movement because the path to the former is more clearly defined. One of the great strengths of the more effective candidates and activists is their ability to explain “poorly understood concepts like ‘identity politics’ and ‘intersectionality’ ” to their young audiences. In doing so, some are helping to expand the horizons of a new kind of socialist feminism, “broadening its conception of workers and deepening its understanding of the interconnectedness of different forms of oppression.” A new labor movement is also emerging. For all that, the young progressives face considerable opposition not just from their right-wing challengers, but also from entrenched Democratic Party operatives who understand correctly that they’re in the crosshairs, too. It’s for that reason, Lipsitz suggests, that not much has changed with the Biden presidency, which causes her to conclude, somewhat dejectedly, that “progress does not inevitably follow a smooth, upward trajectory.”

A well-reported introduction to a growing, controversial movement among the younger electorate.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-83976-426-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Verso

Review Posted Online: Aug. 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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ELON MUSK

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

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A warts-and-all portrait of the famed techno-entrepreneur—and the warts are nearly beyond counting.

To call Elon Musk (b. 1971) “mercurial” is to undervalue the term; to call him a genius is incorrect. Instead, Musk has a gift for leveraging the genius of others in order to make things work. When they don’t, writes eminent biographer Isaacson, it’s because the notoriously headstrong Musk is so sure of himself that he charges ahead against the advice of others: “He does not like to share power.” In this sharp-edged biography, the author likens Musk to an earlier biographical subject, Steve Jobs. Given Musk’s recent political turn, born of the me-first libertarianism of the very rich, however, Henry Ford also comes to mind. What emerges clearly is that Musk, who may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome (“Empathy did not come naturally”), has nurtured several obsessions for years, apart from a passion for the letter X as both a brand and personal name. He firmly believes that “all requirements should be treated as recommendations”; that it is his destiny to make humankind a multi-planetary civilization through innovations in space travel; that government is generally an impediment and that “the thought police are gaining power”; and that “a maniacal sense of urgency” should guide his businesses. That need for speed has led to undeniable successes in beating schedules and competitors, but it has also wrought disaster: One of the most telling anecdotes in the book concerns Musk’s “demon mode” order to relocate thousands of Twitter servers from Sacramento to Portland at breakneck speed, which trashed big parts of the system for months. To judge by Isaacson’s account, that may have been by design, for Musk’s idea of creative destruction seems to mean mostly chaos.

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9781982181284

Page Count: 688

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023

ENOUGH

A mostly compelling account of one woman’s struggles within Trumpworld.

An insider’s account of the rampant misconduct within the Trump administration, including the tumult surrounding the insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021.

Hutchinson, who served as an assistant to Mark Meadows, Trump’s former White House chief of staff, gained national prominence when she testified to the House Select Committee, providing possibly the most damaging portrait of Trump’s erratic behavior to date. In her hotly anticipated memoir, the author traces the challenges and triumphs of her upbringing in New Jersey and the work (including a stint as an intern with Sen. Ted Cruz) that led her to coveted White House internships and eventual positions in the Office of Legislative Affairs and with Meadows. While the book offers few big reveals beyond her testimony (many details leaked before publication), her behind-the-scenes account of the chaotic Trump administration is intermittently insightful. Her initial portrait of Trump is less critical than those written by other former staffers, as the author gauges how his actions were seemingly stirred more by vanity and fear of appearing weak, rather than pure malevolency. For example, she recalls how he attended an event without a mask because he didn’t want to smear his face bronzer. Hutchinson also provides fairly nuanced portraits of Meadows and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who, along with Trump, eventually turned against her. She shares far more negative assessments about others in Trump’s orbit, including Rep. Matt Gaetz, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, and adviser Rudy Giuliani, recounting how Giuliani groped her backstage during Trump’s Jan. 6 speech. The narrative lags after the author leaves the White House, but the story intensifies as she’s faced with subpoenas to testify and is forced to undergo deep soul-searching before choosing to sever ties with Trump and provide the incriminating information that could help take him down.

A mostly compelling account of one woman’s struggles within Trumpworld.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9781668028285

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023

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