The book reads more like a Democrat’s attack on Republicans, but many of the ills it illuminates are bipartisan.

CAPTURED

THE CORPORATE INFILTRATION OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY

A United States senator argues that “there is virtually no element of the political landscape into which corporate influence has not intruded.”

Whitehouse is in a similar position to Bernie Sanders before the last primary campaign: a little-known Democratic senator from a small northeastern state (in this case, Rhode Island) sounding the alarm about the pervasive influence of corporate dollars on American politics. Since his co-author, Stinnett, is also more of a policy specialist than a writer who can humanize these issues, the book reads more like a legal brief or a series of position papers. Yet they are persuasive, particularly for Democrats of a populist bent. Whitehouse continually stresses that corporate money “is usually the strongest political force arrayed in any part of [the political] landscape.” He shows how the insidious influence of money extends from PACs to lobbyists to the Supreme Court and how Republicans in particular have succumbed to the lure of filthy corporate lucre. Since the book was well into the publication cycle before the surprising triumph of Donald Trump, skeptics might wonder how Trump prevailed over the likes of Jeb Bush (who benefitted heavily from corporate backing and PAC support) and then Hillary Clinton (who did as well). The author twists himself into a pretzel as he attempts to show how the Supreme Court’s upholding of the Affordable Care Act actually advanced a corporate conservative agenda. Yet it’s hard to dispute so many of these assertions—e.g., how “the right pursues eliminating the estate tax, which only about 0.2 percent of the very wealthiest Americans—those whose estates are worth more than $5.45 million—will ever have to pay”; how corporation funding has fought tobacco warnings and climate change alike with pseudo-science and public relations lies; or that “corporate money is calling the tune in Congress.”

The book reads more like a Democrat’s attack on Republicans, but many of the ills it illuminates are bipartisan.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62097-207-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

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.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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