Spirited, thorough, and thunderously foreboding.



A former criminal defense attorney and legal analyst sifts through much of the “damning” evidence of Russian ties to Donald Trump, specifically in terms of criminality.

Abramson (Digital Journalism, Legal Advocacy, and Cultural Theory/Univ. of New Hampshire; Golden Age, 2017, etc.) uses a two-tiered approach: a summary of evidence and a compilation of news stories that he has linked to his Twitter feed since January 2017. As such, there is much that is overlapping and repetitive as he moves chronologically through the years of Trump and his associates’ dealings with Russia, from the 1987 attempts to create a Trump hotel in Moscow and “rigging” of the 2002 Miss Universe pageant to the actions of dozens of the “Trump Team” in creating a “back channel” to funnel National Rifle Association money and Russian support into Trump’s incipient presidential campaign. The author minutely examines the many troubling threads to this labyrinthine story. Among them: the alleged kompromat recording of Trump’s scandalous meeting with prostitutes in the Ritz-Carlton Moscow suite in 2013; the covert activities of Russian operative Maria Butina to establish a hidden link between the Kremlin and Republican leadership; the establishment of Trump’s National Security Advisory Committee in early 2016 (many of whose members had “puzzling contacts with the Russians”), which coerced the GOP to change its platform at the Republican National Convention to ease the anti-Russian stance on Ukraine; and Trump’s overt “aiding and abetting” activities in publicly encouraging Russian cyberaggression months after he was officially informed as a presidential candidate that Russians were involved in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee. There are so many bizarre turns to this ongoing saga that Abramson fears the truth will take many years to come to light. Still, he expresses confidence that Robert Mueller’s final report will present “an entire landscape of graft Americans can’t now contemplate.”

Spirited, thorough, and thunderously foreboding.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-982116-08-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.


Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.


Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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