An engaging historical work involving truly larger-than-life American characters.

THE HOUR OF FATE

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, J.P. MORGAN, AND THE BATTLE TO TRANSFORM AMERICAN CAPITALISM

A focused history of the turn-of-the-century series of events during which President Theodore Roosevelt and railroad magnate J.P. Morgan clashed over power and boundaries, paving the way for a progressive moment in America.

In her well-paced debut, Bloomberg Businessweek investigative reporter Berfield ambitiously juggles several historic threads from a turbulent time in America: soaring immigration, labor unrest in the face of low wages and dangerous conditions, the seemingly untrammeled ambitions of big business, and the clamor for public accountability and oversight. Following the assassination of William McKinley, Roosevelt assumed the presidency as a young, untested hero of the Spanish-American War. At the time, he was greatly feared by the Wall Street monopoly for his progressivism. Morgan had created the behemoth U.S. Steel, and he maintained firm control over the “coal roads” in Pennsylvania, the railroads, and Wall Street finance. In 1901, along with a few other titans, he formed the Northern Securities railroad trust; a year later, Roosevelt asked his attorney general to prosecute the corporation for violating the Sherman Antitrust Act, which had been passed into law in 1890. At this crucial historic intersection, writes the author in a particularly engaging section, “tens of thousands of miners were also demanding that the nation honor its commitment to justice even as the coal barons denied it. Their fight would become one of the greatest labor actions in American history, and would redefine Roosevelt’s presidency in the months ahead.” In October 1902, Morgan “committed a surprising act of diplomacy,” bringing the coal barons together with labor leader John Mitchell, and the strike was settled. On March 14, 1904, the Supreme Court handed Morgan a stunning defeat, forcing Northern Securities to dissolve within 30 days. The decision, notes Berfield, cemented Roosevelt’s popularity; he “had tipped the scales back toward ordinary Americans, and many were devoted to him.”

An engaging historical work involving truly larger-than-life American characters. (b/w images)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63557-249-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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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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