by Steven C. Markoff ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 13, 2020
A provocative, readable indictment for our time.
A sharp prosecution against the former president for the disasters of 9/11 and the Iraq War.
As Christopher Hitchens did with Henry Kissinger, so Markoff does with George W. Bush—without the literary flair, granted, but with every bit of the righteous indignation. In the manner of a prosecuting attorney, Markoff serves a brief that enumerates three kinds of actionable offense. The first is that Bush was criminally negligent in ignoring intelligence, from the moment he entered office in January 2001, that terrorists were mounting an imminent assault on the U.S. homeland. By way of evidence, the collective body of which is drawn from 600 annotated sources, Markoff analyzes the 379 speeches Bush gave between his first inauguration and Sept. 10, 2001, to show that Al-Qaida and/or Osama bin Laden turn up precisely zero times while Saddam Hussein, Iraq, and/or some combination of nuclear and chemical threats appear 143 times, oil another 41 times. “The numbers above,” writes the author, “seem at least close to courtroom proof that George W. Bush was far more interested in Hussein and Iraq’s oil than the risks to our country from Al-Qaida and bin Laden so often communicated to him.” Markoff’s second charge is that Bush—no puppet of Dick Cheney’s or some other master, he insists, but instead “an enthusiastic participant”—criminally wasted American blood and treasure in going to war with Iraq, at a direct cost of 4,400 American dead and $2 trillion, to say nothing of American wounded and psychologically shattered, along with untold numbers of Iraqi casualties. Bush’s authorization of torture and rendition for torture constitutes the third charge. Throughout, Markoff restrains himself from hyperbole and rhetorical flourish, at least until the very end of the book, when he asks, pointedly, “Did he think he was above the law or did he care?” His answer, that we’ll likely never know, does not diminish his characterization of the offenses as “reckless, dishonest, and tragically unnecessary.”A provocative, readable indictment for our time.
Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020
Page Count: 356
Publisher: Rare Bird Books
Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020
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by Cassidy Hutchinson ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 26, 2023
A mostly compelling account of one woman’s struggles within Trumpworld.
An insider’s account of the rampant misconduct within the Trump administration, including the tumult surrounding the insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021.
Hutchinson, who served as an assistant to Mark Meadows, Trump’s former White House chief of staff, gained national prominence when she testified to the House Select Committee, providing possibly the most damaging portrait of Trump’s erratic behavior to date. In her hotly anticipated memoir, the author traces the challenges and triumphs of her upbringing in New Jersey and the work (including a stint as an intern with Sen. Ted Cruz) that led her to coveted White House internships and eventual positions in the Office of Legislative Affairs and with Meadows. While the book offers few big reveals beyond her testimony (many details leaked before publication), her behind-the-scenes account of the chaotic Trump administration is intermittently insightful. Her initial portrait of Trump is less critical than those written by other former staffers, as the author gauges how his actions were seemingly stirred more by vanity and fear of appearing weak, rather than pure malevolency. For example, she recalls how he attended an event without a mask because he didn’t want to smear his face bronzer. Hutchinson also provides fairly nuanced portraits of Meadows and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who, along with Trump, eventually turned against her. She shares far more negative assessments about others in Trump’s orbit, including Rep. Matt Gaetz, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, and adviser Rudy Giuliani, recounting how Giuliani groped her backstage during Trump’s Jan. 6 speech. The narrative lags after the author leaves the White House, but the story intensifies as she’s faced with subpoenas to testify and is forced to undergo deep soul-searching before choosing to sever ties with Trump and provide the incriminating information that could help take him down.A mostly compelling account of one woman’s struggles within Trumpworld.
Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023
Page Count: 384
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023
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More About This Book
SEEN & HEARD
by Paul Kalanithi ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 19, 2016
A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...
Awards & Accolades
Best Books Of 2016
New York Times Bestseller
Pulitzer Prize Finalist
A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.
Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.
Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016
Page Count: 248
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015
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