A forthright indictment of the media’s shortcomings.

SUPPRESSED

CONFESSIONS OF A FORMER NEW YORK TIMES WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

A former journalist’s memoir serves as a call to reinvigorate investigative reporting.

Lawyer and mediator Smith, a former New York Times Washington correspondent, mounts a sharp critique of journalism in his frank, often digressive debut memoir. Smith contends that “suppression of news is alive and well, even at the New York Times,” reflecting both editorial bias and the media’s cozy relationship to those in power. “Power,” writes the author, “oozing from the paper, forms a protective barrier around its correspondents and editors. People shy away from offending Times reporters,” fearing bad publicity. Smith recounts an accomplished career: education, jobs, salient assignments, and battles won and lost. The son of Eastern European immigrants, he attended the prestigious Boston Public Latin School, went on to Harvard, spent a year in Germany as a Fulbright Scholar, and continued his education at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. Characterizing himself as naïve, he was disillusioned when, working at Time magazine, he saw news manipulated to fit the publications’s conservative views. Smith also encountered suppression elsewhere, including the Boston Herald and the Times. Central to the memoir is one traumatizing incident: With evidence from a trusted source, he learned about the Watergate break-in, but when he brought the story to his editor at the Times, it was ignored, to his astonishment and dismay. The paper’s failure—or refusal—to cover the story “was the result of conscious bias,” he insists, which still shapes whatever the paper sees fit to print and has evolved into “reflexive, unconscious bias” that, he believes, thwarts its efforts to effectively undercut critics like Donald Trump. Frustrated with reporting, Smith opted for the law. In the intellectually stimulating atmosphere of Yale Law School, he began to see the world not as black and white but “a dubious gray.” Smith cautions readers to watch out for bias, ask who is reporting, and consider outside pressures that influence a paper’s focus.

A forthright indictment of the media’s shortcomings.

Pub Date: May 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4930-5771-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Lyons Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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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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The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.

F*CK IT, I'LL START TOMORROW

The chef, rapper, and TV host serves up a blustery memoir with lashings of self-help.

“I’ve always had a sick confidence,” writes Bronson, ne Ariyan Arslani. The confidence, he adds, comes from numerous sources: being a New Yorker, and more specifically a New Yorker from Queens; being “short and fucking husky” and still game for a standoff on the basketball court; having strength, stamina, and seemingly no fear. All these things serve him well in the rough-and-tumble youth he describes, all stickball and steroids. Yet another confidence-builder: In the big city, you’ve got to sink or swim. “No one is just accepted—you have to fucking show that you’re able to roll,” he writes. In a narrative steeped in language that would make Lenny Bruce blush, Bronson recounts his sentimental education, schooled by immigrant Italian and Albanian family members and the mean streets, building habits good and bad. The virtue of those habits will depend on your take on modern mores. Bronson writes, for example, of “getting my dick pierced” down in the West Village, then grabbing a pizza and smoking weed. “I always smoke weed freely, always have and always will,” he writes. “I’ll just light a blunt anywhere.” Though he’s gone through the classic experiences of the latter-day stoner, flunking out and getting arrested numerous times, Bronson is a hard charger who’s not afraid to face nearly any challenge—especially, given his physique and genes, the necessity of losing weight: “If you’re husky, you’re always dieting in your mind,” he writes. Though vulgar and boastful, Bronson serves up a model that has plenty of good points, including his growing interest in nature, creativity, and the desire to “leave a legacy for everybody.”

The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4478-5

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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