This is a vital, timely issue, and the author’s research is impressively in-depth, but an overabundance of anecdotes and...

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RETHINKING SEX, POWER, & CONSENT ON CAMPUS

An award-winning journalist reports from the front lines of the sexual assault controversy.

Entering the complex, contentious conversation about sexual assault on college campuses, New York Times Magazine and Vanity Fair contributing editor Grigoriadis offers an extensively researched investigation based on dozens of case reports and interviews with 120 students (accusers, accused, and activists) from 20 universities and 80 administrators and experts. What has emerged from her three years of research, though, are more questions than satisfying answers: what constitutes sexual assault? How prevalent is the problem? How should colleges address assault charges? How can assaults be prevented? Types of college assault, she found, occur in four main categories: penetration (“intercourse, oral sex, and fingering”); “incapacitated rape,” meaning “sex that happens when the victim is unconscious”; any aggressive act, such as groping; and “the vast middle ground” of sex without consent. Incapacitated rape, the author reveals, is the most common type, resulting from a culture of heavy drinking at most residential colleges. The most significant risk factors for assault are “free-flowing alcohol and misogyny,” both of which are hallmarks of fraternities. “If you want to maintain your status as a striving middle-to-upper-middle-class member of society,” Grigoriadis asserts, “having been part of the Greek system in college is a sure way to do it.” She paints a dismal picture of college social life, where students feel pressured to hook up, where boys are confused about what constitutes consent, and where girls—often falling-down drunk—acquiesce to sex that they don’t really want. As a society, writes the author, we’re afraid “to tell girls that they too bear responsibility for their sexual behavior and safety.” In an appendix, she offers common-sense advice for students and parents: “watch out for guys who exhibit toxic masculinity”; watch what you drink; “learn a few self-defense tricks”; and carefully read the sexual-misconduct section of the college handbook.

This is a vital, timely issue, and the author’s research is impressively in-depth, but an overabundance of anecdotes and statistics offers little clarity on the issue.

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-544-70255-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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