An uplifting story of an extraordinary effort to support human rights throughout the world.

TO STOP A WARLORD

MY STORY OF JUSTICE, GRACE, AND THE FIGHT FOR PEACE

A hard-driving chronicle of a committed group of well-connected do-gooders determined to apprehend the long-terrorizing leader of the violent Lord’s Resistance Army in Central Africa.

Led by its sadistic leader, Joseph Kony, the LRA sprang up amid the civil war in Uganda in the mid-1980s, and for more than 25 years, it has preyed on vulnerable children to make up its murderous ranks. Inspired by the life of ex–LRA soldier victims like David Ocitti, whose harrowing story of murder and rape alternates between the primary narrative thread, Davis, CEO of the philanthropic organization Bridgeway Foundation, mustered the foundation’s considerable missionary zeal and financial clout to try to take down the elusive Kony. Recognizing that “policy alone wasn’t going to stop the LRA,” especially in “a region that was not a direct national security threat to the United States,” the author and her group resolved to help provide the financial resources to train Ugandan military as well as improve communications among villages in the affected areas. Enlisting the help of Laren Poole, from the Invisible Children movement, Davis corralled a host of formidable participants in her fight—e.g., a notorious Ugandan general; a former covert operative for the special forces in the South African army; and the several hundred Ugandan soldiers selected for the training program who would actually swarm the areas where Kony had last operated. Moreover, there was the financial backing of Muneer Satter, a high-level Goldman Sachs executive, and philanthropist Howard G. Buffett, who provides the foreword. Sadly, despite this incredible endeavor, by the end of the operation in 2015, Kony was still at large. Still, as the author writes, “LRA violence is still minimal compared to the deadliness of the organization pre-mission,” and she succeeds in her hope that the book “will serve as an encouragement to engage more deeply in issues of injustice in the world.”

An uplifting story of an extraordinary effort to support human rights throughout the world.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9592-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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