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

UNHOLY

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: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Not flawless, but one of the best recent analyses of the contemporary woes of American economics and politics.

WHO STOLE THE AMERICAN DREAM?

Remarkably comprehensive and coherent analysis of and prescriptions for America’s contemporary economic malaise by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Smith (Rethinking America, 1995, etc.).

“Over the past three decades,” writes the author, “we have become Two Americas.” We have arrived at a new Gilded Age, where “gross inequality of income and wealth” have become endemic. Such inequality is not simply the result of “impersonal and irresistible market forces,” but of quite deliberate corporate strategies and the public policies that enabled them. Smith sets out on a mission to trace the history of these strategies and policies, which transformed America from a roughly fair society to its current status as a plutocracy. He leaves few stones unturned. CEO culture has moved since the 1970s from a concern for the general well-being of society, including employees, to the single-minded pursuit of personal enrichment and short-term increases in stock prices. During much of the ’70s, CEO pay was roughly 40 times a worker’s pay; today that number is 367. Whether it be through outsourcing and factory closings, corporate reneging on once-promised contributions to employee health and retirement funds, the deregulation of Wall Street and the financial markets, a tax code which favors overwhelmingly the interests of corporate heads and the superrich—all of which Smith examines in fascinating detail—the American middle class has been left floundering. For its part, government has simply become an enabler and partner of the rich, as the rich have turned wealth into political influence and rigid conservative opposition has created the politics of gridlock. What, then, is to be done? Here, Smith’s brilliant analyses turn tepid, as he advocates for “a peaceful political revolution at the grassroots” to realign the priorities of government and the economy but offers only the vaguest of clues as to how this might occur.

Not flawless, but one of the best recent analyses of the contemporary woes of American economics and politics.

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4000-6966-8

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An educational and inspiring biography of seminal American innovators.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

THE WRIGHT BROTHERS

A charmingly pared-down life of the “boys” that grounds their dream of flight in decent character and work ethic.

There is a quiet, stoical awe to the accomplishments of these two unprepossessing Ohio brothers in this fluently rendered, skillfully focused study by two-time Pulitzer Prize–winning and two-time National Book Award–winning historian McCullough (The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, 2011, etc.). The author begins with a brief yet lively depiction of the Wright home dynamic: reeling from the death of their mother from tuberculosis in 1889, the three children at home, Wilbur, Orville, and Katharine, had to tend house, as their father, an itinerant preacher, was frequently absent. McCullough highlights the intellectual stimulation that fed these bookish, creative, close-knit siblings. Wilbur was the most gifted, yet his parents’ dreams of Yale fizzled after a hockey accident left the boy with a mangled jaw and broken teeth. The boys first exhibited their mechanical genius in their print shop and then in their bicycle shop, which allowed them the income and space upstairs for machine-shop invention. Dreams of flight were reawakened by reading accounts by Otto Lilienthal and other learned treatises and, specifically, watching how birds flew. Wilbur’s dogged writing to experts such as civil engineer Octave Chanute and the Smithsonian Institute provided advice and response, as others had long been preoccupied by controlled flight. Testing their first experimental glider took the Wrights over several seasons to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, to experiment with their “wing warping” methods. There, the strange, isolated locals marveled at these most “workingest boys,” and the brothers continually reworked and repaired at every step. McCullough marvels at their success despite a lack of college education, technical training, “friends in high places” or “financial backers”—they were just boys obsessed by a dream and determined to make it reality.

An educational and inspiring biography of seminal American innovators.

Pub Date: May 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4767-2874-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more