More grist for anti-Trump readers that could serve as an entry point for further investigations of political evangelicalism.

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WHY WHITE EVANGELICALS WORSHIP AT THE ALTAR OF DONALD TRUMP

An examination of the historical reasons for Donald Trump’s appeal to white evangelical voters.

Journalist Posner, a reporter for Type Investigations who has written for Rolling Stone, the Washington Post, and other outlets, looks back through five decades of evangelical activity to ascertain why white evangelical voters would support Trump, who has repeatedly shown himself to be biblically illiterate and morally bankrupt. “They had been waiting for a leader unbowed,” writes the author, “one who wasn’t afraid to attack, head-on, the legal, social, and cultural changes that had unleashed the racist grievances of the American right, beginning with Brown v. Board of Education.” Throughout the book, Posner characterizes the Christian right as undeniably racist, steeped in a generational disdain for civil rights and secretly longing for an age of white dominance. As the author argues in mostly convincing fashion, because Trump embodies these same worldviews and despite his questionable Christian credentials, he is closely connected to Christian right voters. Posner takes pains to draw connections from early, sometimes obscure figures in evangelical politics—e.g., activist Paul Weyrich and strategist Arthur Finkelstein—to a wide constellation of Trump supporters and others pushing radical agendas. She shows how white evangelicals continue to fight against the changes brought about by desegregation, affirmative action, women’s rights, and LGBTQ rights. Posner’s discussions of American ties to Hungary’s right-wing government, as well as Moldova as a center of worldwide far-right activity, require more research and context to lift them above the level of conspiracy theory. Posner’s passionate antipathy for Trump, the “pagan king,” is consistently palpable, as is her disdain for conservatives in general. Though she makes many solid points about Trump’s racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic actions, most of these are already well-covered elsewhere. For a deeper dive into American evangelicalism that explains Trump’s appeal in a more organic, less headline-grabbing fashion, try Frances FitzGerald’s The Evangelicals.

More grist for anti-Trump readers that could serve as an entry point for further investigations of political evangelicalism.

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2042-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: tomorrow

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

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WHY WE'RE POLARIZED

A sharp explanation of how American politics has become so discordant.

Journalist Klein, co-founder of Vox, formerly of the Washington Post, MSNBC, and Bloomberg, reminds readers that political commentators in the 1950s and ’60s denounced Republicans and Democrats as “tweedledum and tweedledee.” With liberals and conservatives in both parties, they complained, voters lacked a true choice. The author suspects that race played a role, and he capably shows us why and how. For a century after the Civil War, former Confederate states, obsessed with keeping blacks powerless, elected a congressional bloc that “kept the Democratic party less liberal than it otherwise would’ve been, the Republican Party congressionally weaker than it otherwise would’ve been, and stopped the parties from sorting themselves around the deepest political cleavage of the age.” Following the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, many white Southern Democrats became Republicans, and the parties turned consistently liberal and conservative. Given a “true choice,” Klein maintains, voters discarded ideology in favor of “identity politics.” Americans, like all humans, cherish their “tribe” and distrust outsiders. Identity was once a preoccupation of minorities, but it has recently attracted white activists and poisoned the national discourse. The author deplores the decline of mass media (network TV, daily newspapers), which could not offend a large audience, and the rise of niche media and internet sites, which tell a small audience only what they want to hear. American observers often joke about European nations that have many parties who vote in lock step. In fact, such parties cooperate to pass legislation. America is the sole system with only two parties, both of which are convinced that the other is not only incompetent (a traditional accusation), but a danger to the nation. So far, calls for drastic action to prevent the apocalypse are confined to social media, fringe activists, and the rhetoric of Trump supporters. Fortunately—according to Klein—Trump is lazy, but future presidents may be more savvy. The author does not conclude this deeply insightful, if dispiriting, analysis by proposing a solution.

A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4767-0032-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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