A solid journalistic exposé.




Philadelphia Inquirer journalist Salisbury explores the reprisals against Muslim communities in Philadelphia and beyond since the beginning of the War on Terror.

The author focuses on two events: the closing of a Philadelphia mosque, Ansaarullah Islamic Society, after the arrest of its imam, Mohamed Ghorab, in 2004 by the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the IRS; and government hostility toward anti-Vietnam War activists when the author was a Columbia University student in the late-1960s. According to the government, the enemy had to be sought out and destroyed, but in both cases the question remained: What/who was the enemy? Many crackdowns against Muslim communities had occurred since the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, for which “experts” had at first “speculated with great assurance that Muslim extremists were responsible,” even though it was the work of a white, right-wing Christian, Timothy McVeigh. Following 9/11, pent-up anti-immigrant hostility and aggressive patriotism exploded in nation-wide “kill the ragheads” fever, resulting in random shootings, arson, beatings and removal of entire communities—all well-documented by Salisbury. The backlash overwhelmed Ghorab, an Egyptian immigrant and mechanical engineer who had started a mosque of several hundred in a working-class community in Philadelphia on the strength on his peaceful commitment to Islam. He had overstayed his visa, gotten entangled in a messy divorce from an American and was deported to Egypt in 2005, mostly on the government’s flimsy argument that “[y]ou don’t know what we know.” Salisbury surveys the sinister aspects of Att. Gen. John Ashcroft’s PENTTBOM dragnet and juxtaposes these strategies against the FBI’s COINTELPRO program of surveillance and the planting of informers amid antiwar activism of the late-’60s. Both operations, writes the author, proved damaging to civil rights and democracy.

A solid journalistic exposé.

Pub Date: May 3, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-56858-428-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Nation Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2010

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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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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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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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