That project continues, of course, in different hands all these years after Nixon’s coverup of a coverup. No one who reads...

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ONE MAN AGAINST THE WORLD

THE TRAGEDY OF RICHARD NIXON

Sobering, eye-opening study of Richard Nixon’s booze-soaked, paranoid White House years and the endless tragedies they wrought.

“The press is the enemy. The establishment is the enemy. The professors are the enemy.” So said Nixon, who never minded making room for one more name on his fabled—though very real—enemies list. It speaks volumes about Nixon that there is still more to learn about him, 40-plus years after Watergate. It speaks further volumes that what we are learning is even worse than what we knew: John Dean’s The Nixon Defense (2014) just scratches the surface. Enter Pulitzer and National Book Award winner Weiner (American Studies/Princeton Univ.; Enemies: A History of the FBI, 2012, etc.), who is particularly interested in Nixon’s fraught efforts to disengage from Vietnam while not appearing to abandon an American ally. “Why not give this up?” asked Chinese leader Zhou Enlai, who encouraged Nixon to get out, promising that if the war were to continue, China would be honor-bound to help its communist neighbor. Alas, writes the author, Nixon and the ever sycophantic Henry Kissinger could never figure out how to pull that off. Weiner’s findings, drawing on the entirety of Nixon’s secret tapes and other documents, are certainly newsworthy: Nixon, for instance, busily selling ambassadorships, wanted to dismantle not just the State Department, but effectively the whole of the government, filling its ranks with loyalists. So bent was he on this that he put into motion a plan to have his entire Cabinet resign the day after the election, with the next step to “rebrand the Republican Party in coalition with conservative Democrats, create what he called a New Majority to last until the end of the twentieth century, and destroy the remnants of LBJ’s Great Society once and for all.”

That project continues, of course, in different hands all these years after Nixon’s coverup of a coverup. No one who reads this incisive book will be nostalgic for Nixon, no matter how disastrous his successors.

Pub Date: July 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-083-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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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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  • New York Times Bestseller

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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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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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