An inspiring saga of grassroots political cooperation.



A fight to keep a Wisconsin paper mill open helps to rejuvenate labor politics in this impassioned nonfiction work.

Nelson was the county executive of Wisconsin’s Outagamie County in 2017 when the Appleton Coated paper mill was forced into receivership by its creditor PNC Bank—one of several mill shutdowns in the Fox River Valley paper-manufacturing region. Appleton Coated was the economic mainstay of the town of Combined Locks, providing it with 620 high-paying jobs and tax revenue, and its managers insisted it would be profitable after it weathered a rough patch of high wood-pulp prices and depressed markets and introduced new product lines. Nelson recounts that PNC claimed otherwise and that it used provisions in a loan agreement to take control of the mill and auction it to another company that planned to shutter and scrap it. Appleton Coated’s community rallied to its cause: Workers staged a “reverse strike” and kept the mill operating; the United Steelworkers Union local representing them filed an objection to the receivership sale in court and set about finding another buyer that would keep the mill up and running; and Nelson filed his own objection in court, citing the economic damage to the county that would result if the mill closed. A heated legal battle ensued, and the mill won a reprieve thanks to concessions from the union and government aid that Nelson pitched in. As a result, Appleton Coated duly made its way back to profitability in 2018. Over the course of this book, Nelson sets the mill’s story against a panorama of Wisconsin politics and economic issues, examining a rash of similar mill shutdowns and accusing Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who served from 2011 to 2019, and the state legislature’s Republican majority of being indifferent to the plight of the paper industry even as it gave electronics manufacturer FoxConn billions in subsidies for a new factory.

Nelson’s narrative offers an incisive insider’s view of industrial policy, pairing lucid analysis of the economics and practicalities of running a paper mill with bread-and-butter local politics. It’s also a tribute to organized labor—“As for the workers….They were the only adults in the room, demonstrating remarkable leadership and grace under immense pressure”—that offers readers an extensive history of unions in the state of Wisconsin. Nelson lays out a case for labor-law and immigration reform (“one underappreciated consequence of using immigration as a source of cheap labor has been a transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top of our economy”), but his fiery prose is anything but wonkish. The book presents an engrossing courtroom drama, an acerbic indictment of bank policy that’s also fair to the difficulties that business managers face, and communitarian paeans to blue-collar America: “This was my childhood. This was the American Dream.” The result is a compelling story of a struggle for economic survival that strives to get beyond ideological polarization and highlight ways that unions, businesses, and governments can help ordinary people.

An inspiring saga of grassroots political cooperation.

Pub Date: March 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-953943-00-2

Page Count: 276

Publisher: Rivertowns Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...


A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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Gucci demonstrates all the bravado and ferocious self-confidence that he counsels—and the photos are a nice bonus.


A hip-hop star who went on his first international tour wearing an ankle monitor explains how to succeed.

“The words you are about to read can help you,” writes Gucci. “That’s because there is truth in them. These are words of wisdom, like the Bible and its proverbs.” Unquestionably, Gucci likes to aim high, as many of his proverbs attest: “Stop Underestimating Yourself”; “Whatever You’re Thinking, Think Bigger”; “Nobody Cares. Work Harder”; “When They Sleep, I’m Grinding”; “Do More, Get More.” And never forget, “Women Are Brilliant.” Gucci not only shares his recipes for success. As in a cookbook that shows pictures of the end result, the author includes dozens of dazzling photos of himself and his beautiful wife, among them a series on his surprise wedding proposal at an Atlanta Hawks game. After the success of his bestselling debut, The Autobiography of Gucci Mane, Gucci has realized there is money to be made in the book business. In addition to the Bible, he has his eye on Malcolm Gladwell and his reported $5 million advances. While he is “cool with Malcolm Gladwell being more celebrated than me as an author…the difference between Malcolm Gladwell and me is that I’m going to make more money because I’m going to make so many books for my following….You can enjoy this book or not, but I’m going to make my fifty-second book, my hundred and eighth book.” Many readers will hope that one of them will be a diet book, as the 100-plus pounds Gucci has lost and kept off are a frequent topic—alas, he doesn’t reveal his weight loss secrets here. Until the next book, try to live the Gucci Mane way. “Avoid lazy and miserable people,” and “Find something to be excited about every day.”

Gucci demonstrates all the bravado and ferocious self-confidence that he counsels—and the photos are a nice bonus.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982146-78-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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