by Stephen Mills ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 26, 2022
A vitally important book for fellow survivors—and anyone seeking justice for victims.
A horrifyingly unforgettable memoir of sexual abuse and its lifelong consequences.
Mills first experienced trauma after the early death of his father, who suffered from both nerve disease and mental illness. In late boyhood, still grieving, he fell into a trap carefully laid by a summer-camp manager. The author’s descriptions of his abuse are uncomfortably graphic, and readers will join him in his reaction to the first of them: “I closed my eyes and prayed. I’m not here. I’m not here.” The perpetrator insinuated himself into Mills’ family life, convincing his mother and stepfather to allow Mills to go on vacation with him to the Bahamas, where yet more molestation occurred. Finding relief along various avenues as he grew into adulthood—from attending yeshiva to taking a pharmacopeia of illegal drugs and committing small-scale crimes—Mills drifted: “My Jewish soul—Shlomo’s soul—had found its way home,” he writes. “But Stephen kept checking the doors for escape routes.” Eventually, with the support of Margaret Mead, Mills undertook graduate studies even as his molester rose in the world of intergroup summer camps. Mills became a counselor, and witnessing the same molester lure young men into lairs at one such camp spurred him to bring the criminal to justice. That effort, which occupies the latter third of this visceral, gripping book, is both an endless game of cat and mouse and the subject of a narrative full of disappointments. The FBI, promising at first, failed to deliver, since Mann Act provisions had expired, even though Mills provided testimonials from numerous of his contemporaries that they, too, had been abused. The late lawyer and thriller author Andrew Vachss also tried to help, to no avail. It was only through civil actions after the perpetrator died, targeting employers that knew of and tolerated the abuse, that some possible form of retribution emerged, a matter unresolved at the end of this powerful, closely observed account.A vitally important book for fellow survivors—and anyone seeking justice for victims.
Pub Date: April 26, 2022
Page Count: 336
Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt
Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022
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by Walter Isaacson ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 12, 2023
Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.
A warts-and-all portrait of the famed techno-entrepreneur—and the warts are nearly beyond counting.
To call Elon Musk (b. 1971) “mercurial” is to undervalue the term; to call him a genius is incorrect. Instead, Musk has a gift for leveraging the genius of others in order to make things work. When they don’t, writes eminent biographer Isaacson, it’s because the notoriously headstrong Musk is so sure of himself that he charges ahead against the advice of others: “He does not like to share power.” In this sharp-edged biography, the author likens Musk to an earlier biographical subject, Steve Jobs. Given Musk’s recent political turn, born of the me-first libertarianism of the very rich, however, Henry Ford also comes to mind. What emerges clearly is that Musk, who may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome (“Empathy did not come naturally”), has nurtured several obsessions for years, apart from a passion for the letter X as both a brand and personal name. He firmly believes that “all requirements should be treated as recommendations”; that it is his destiny to make humankind a multi-planetary civilization through innovations in space travel; that government is generally an impediment and that “the thought police are gaining power”; and that “a maniacal sense of urgency” should guide his businesses. That need for speed has led to undeniable successes in beating schedules and competitors, but it has also wrought disaster: One of the most telling anecdotes in the book concerns Musk’s “demon mode” order to relocate thousands of Twitter servers from Sacramento to Portland at breakneck speed, which trashed big parts of the system for months. To judge by Isaacson’s account, that may have been by design, for Musk’s idea of creative destruction seems to mean mostly chaos.Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.
Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023
Page Count: 688
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023
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A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.
Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.
Pub Date: July 12, 2022
Page Count: 192
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022
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