Next book



A deeply felt, swift-moving account of war and its complex aftermath.

A Marine-turned-politician recounts his time under fire in Iraq.

An ambitious but poor youngChicagoan, Gallego worked his way to a Harvard scholarship—and then, as he readily allows, partied hard enough to be asked to leave. Aimless, he joined the Marine Corps after 9/11 and was packed off to boot camp, where he tried to keep the Harvard connection quiet. His drill instructor found out and upbraided him: “Why the hell aren’t you an officer?...Are you stupid?” The author’s well-reasoned response in this agile memoir is to note that the division between Marine recruit and Harvard undergrad isn’t the political one of conservative versus liberal but instead a more abiding one of class and, to some extent, ethnicity. “Statistically,” writes Gallego, “you won’t find many young Latino males raised by single women in households with sketchy backgrounds getting college degrees, let alone from Harvard. The odds were far better that I’d be in prison, or even dead.” By the odd logic of the Marine Corps, Gallego was assigned to a reserve unit in New Mexico and sent to Iraq, where, for a time, his company was dubbed “Lucky Lima” for not having taken casualties. That luck soon ran out. Toward the end of Gallego's tour, Lima “had the dubious honor of being the hardest hit unit in the Marine Corps since the bombing at Beirut.” Gallego writes affectingly of his friendship with a young Navajo man who died there, one reason that, now a liberal Democrat and Arizona congressman, he takes an active legislative interest in Native American affairs. Condemning the Iraq misadventure as a political stunt—of a visiting Dick Cheney, he writes, “This asshole pushed us into a war that we didn’t need and then didn’t get us the armor that we did need”—the author notes that his training has helped put discipline in his life. It also saved others on Jan. 6, when he and fellow veterans helped their congressional colleagues escape the insurrectionary mob.

A deeply felt, swift-moving account of war and its complex aftermath.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-304581-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Custom House/Morrow

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

Next book


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

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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Next book



Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Close Quickview