An inspiring affirmation that celebrates the old adage that where there's a will, there's a way, even against seemingly...

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THE MAN CALLED BROWN CONDOR

THE FORGOTTEN HISTORY OF AN AFRICAN AMERICAN FIGHTER PILOT

The forgotten history of John Charles Robinson (1903–1954), a pioneer African-American aviator and educator.

Simmons (Forgotten Heroes of World War II, 2002, etc.) brings to life Robinson's inspiring struggle against racism through the story of how he rose to become the commander of Haile Selassie's air force in Ethiopia's attempt to defend itself against Mussolini's brutal invasion. The author traces how Robinson, a Tuskegee-educated auto mechanic, could not find employment up to his skill level in Gulfport, Miss., where he grew up. He left for Detroit to work as a mechanic but had to confront the prejudice that black men and aviation could not mix. He moved on again to Chicago, where he mastered aviation mechanics by auditing classes while employed as the office cleaner. When he couldn't afford a plane, members of the flying club he set up helped him to make one. Robinson’s qualities were eventually recognized by the Curtiss-Wright aviation business. He organized flight schools and worked on a project to establish an aviation program at the Tuskegee Institute. Returning to America to a hero's welcome after fighting Mussolini, Robinson was able to awaken the public to what the country would need to do to fight its likely German and Italian enemies in the coming war. Simmons documents how Robinson again overcame prejudice working to develop the engineering and technical infrastructure that supported the segregated black units in World War II. Robinson's determination to succeed helped make the bomber escort units known as the Tuskegee Red Tails possible. He returned to Ethiopia after Mussolini's occupation to help rebuild the country's air service.

An inspiring affirmation that celebrates the old adage that where there's a will, there's a way, even against seemingly impossible odds.

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-62087-217-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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