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SISTERS IN HATE

AMERICAN WOMEN ON THE FRONT LINES OF WHITE NATIONALISM

Engaging, horrifying, and informative—Darby offers an important, fresh angle on the problems tearing our country apart.

Portraits of three contemporary American women and the movement that unites them: white supremacy.

“Hate in America is surging,” writes Darby, editor-in-chief of the Atavist Magazine and former deputy editor of Foreign Policy. That assertion will surprise few, but the author’s thesis—“Women are the hate movement’s dulcet voices and its standard bearers”—is more eye-opening since “men are the far right’s most recognizable evangelists, and bombings, shootings and rallies are the most obvious manifestations of the movement’s strength.” While conducting research, the author learned that the assumption that “women likely wouldn’t fight against their own interests” was incorrect. Darby fleshes out the story with three cases. The first, Corinna Olsen, is arguably the most interesting, partly because she’s a rare bird—she works as an embalmer and was formerly a bodybuilding competitor and an actress in torture porn—and partly because she changed her mind about racism. Ayla Stewart is the opposite story. She started out as a feminist and defender of gay rights and now operates as one of the leading online proponents of what is called “tradlife” as the “Wife With a Purpose,” combining organic cooking with latter-day Nazism. The author reserves most of her scorn for her third subject, Lana Lokteff. Described by David Duke as a “harder-hitting” Ann Coulter with a “movie-star quality,” Lokteff runs a right-wing news outlet called Red Ice with her husband. As Darby documents, she is “capable of extraordinary venom,” from Jew-hating to fat-shaming, as well as plenty of outright lying. (While Olsen cooperated with Darby throughout the project, the other two met with her but then cut off communications.) Along the way, the author carefully explains the supporting work of many other journalists and researchers and a wealth of right-wing lingo.

Engaging, horrifying, and informative—Darby offers an important, fresh angle on the problems tearing our country apart.

Pub Date: July 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-48777-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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WHAT THIS COMEDIAN SAID WILL SHOCK YOU

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

The comedian argues that the arts of moderation and common sense must be reinvigorated.

Some people are born snarky, some become snarky, and some have snarkiness thrust upon them. Judging from this book, Maher—host of HBO’s Real Time program and author of The New New Rules and When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden—is all three. As a comedian, he has a great deal of leeway to make fun of people in politics, and he often delivers hilarious swipes with a deadpan face. The author describes himself as a traditional liberal, with a disdain for Republicans (especially the MAGA variety) and a belief in free speech and personal freedom. He claims that he has stayed much the same for more than 20 years, while the left, he argues, has marched toward intolerance. He sees an addiction to extremism on both sides of the aisle, which fosters the belief that anyone who disagrees with you must be an enemy to be destroyed. However, Maher has always displayed his own streaks of extremism, and his scorched-earth takedowns eventually become problematic. The author has something nasty to say about everyone, it seems, and the sarcastic tone starts after more than 300 pages. As has been the case throughout his career, Maher is best taken in small doses. The book is worth reading for the author’s often spot-on skewering of inept politicians and celebrities, but it might be advisable to occasionally dip into it rather than read the whole thing in one sitting. Some parts of the text are hilarious, but others are merely insulting. Maher is undeniably talented, but some restraint would have produced a better book.

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781668051351

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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WHAT WENT WRONG WITH CAPITALISM

Sure to generate debate, and of special interest to adherents of free market capitalism.

A book-length assertion that capitalism’s woes can be traced to government interventionism.

Sharma, an investments manager, financial journalist, and author of The 10 Rules of Successful Nations, The Rise and Fall of Nations, and other books, opens with the case of his native India. The author argues that it should be in a better position in the global marketplace, possessing an entrepreneurial culture and endless human capital. The culprit was “India’s lingering attachment to a state that overpromises and under-delivers,” one that privileged social welfare over infrastructure development. Much the same is true in the U.S., where today “President Joe Biden is promising to fix the crises of capitalism by enlarging a government that never shrank.” Refreshingly, Sharma places just as much blame on Ronald Reagan for the swollen state that introduced distortions into the market. Moreover, “flaws that economists blame on ‘market failures,’ including wealth inequality and inordinate corporate power, often flow more from government excesses.” One distortion is the government’s bloated debt, as it continues to fund itself by borrowing in order to pay for “the perennial deficit.” As any household budget manager would tell you, debt is ultimately unsustainable. Wealth concentration is another outcome of government tinkering that has, whether by design or not, concentrated wealth into the hands of a very small number of people, “a critical symptom of capitalism gone wrong, both inefficient and grossly unfair.” Perhaps surprisingly, Sharma notes that in quasi-socialist economies such as the Scandinavian nations, such interventions are fewer and shallower, while autocratic command economies are doomed to fail. “[T]oday every large developed country is a full-fledged democracy,” he writes, and the more freedom the better—but that freedom, he argues, is undermined by the U.S. government, which has accrued “the widest budget deficit in the developed world.”

Sure to generate debate, and of special interest to adherents of free market capitalism.

Pub Date: June 11, 2024

ISBN: 9781668008263

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 22, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2024

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