A richly documented indictment of power and corruption that bears urgent discussion in the coming electoral cycle.




One-time attorney Abramson extends the argument begun in Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018) by widening the net of culprits.

Donald Trump entered the field of presidential contenders without a discernible ideology save receiving money for nothing, a penchant that many actors were glad to serve. In this long, complex study, the author adds evidence concerning the principal actor, Russia, while layering on other parties: Saudi Arabia, Israel, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates. Each has served Trump in various ways—Saudi Arabia, for example, by once bailing Trump out from bankruptcy—and each has been rewarded in turn, with Egypt removed from sanctions, given more military aid than it requested, and legitimated even as elected members of the Muslim Brotherhood were branded as terrorists. There are geopolitical issues surrounding this network of “Red Sea conspirators,” as Abramson dubs them: All are committed to the continued supremacy of the oil economy, all are positioned to contain Iran and Syria, and all are autocratic to one extent or another—and there’s not much Trump likes better than an autocratic leader. Russia remains the principal villain of the piece, but, as the author writes, “the Saudis and Emiratis marked…the additional slate of possibilities opened up by the Kremlin’s burgeoning interest in a political neophyte with malleable ethics.” By Abramson’s extensive account, malleability has shifted into full-blown corruption, as Trump and his associates accepted Israeli intelligence here, Russian offers of support there, and the like. The author’s deft tracing of the undeclared international shuttling back and forth between interested parties of former Trump aide Michael Flynn will make readers wonder why he’s not locked inside a maximum security prison. Abramson closes by connecting the dots in current newspaper headlines: Netanyahu wins reelection in Israel, Saudi Arabia declares war on dissidents and neighboring nations alike, Trump pledges an additional 10,000 American troops for deployment in the Middle East, a prelude to war in Iran….

A richly documented indictment of power and corruption that bears urgent discussion in the coming electoral cycle.

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-25671-3

Page Count: 592

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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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

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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