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DONALD TRUMP AND HIS ASSAULT ON TRUTH

THE PRESIDENT'S FALSEHOODS, MISLEADING CLAIMS, AND FLAT-OUT LIES

Readers will want to add in the many COVID-19 falsehoods, but all in all, this is an extremely valuable chronicle.

All politicians lie. But the current occupant of the White House? Yikes….

Kessler, editor of the Washington Post “Fact Checker” column, allows that every recent president is associated with “one big lie”—e.g., not having sex with “that woman,” fudging about overflights over the Soviet Union, dismissing concerns about illness. Donald Trump is transcendent. He is, by Kessler and his colleagues’ account, “the most mendacious president in U.S. history,” the author not of one big and sometimes necessary lie but of thousands of little, useless ones. As of the third anniversary of his inauguration, they reckon, the lie count was 16,241—which means that Trump publicly lied 15 times per day on average, though some days were richer than others, such as November 5, 2018, which rang in 139 false claims. The lies are part of a program of an attack on truth, the authors assert, and given that “Republicans have grown less concerned about presidents being honest than they were a decade ago,” the lies find a willing audience. Parsing those 16,241 lies, the Post staffers calculate that immigration is the single subject most liable to be lied about, “accounting for 15 percent of the total…we fact-checked in the first three years of Trump’s presidency.” But everything else is fair game, too, with concomitant fits of projection—accusing others of lying, for instance—and refusal to accept responsibility for anything except the rare success. Then there are the simple misunderstandings, as when he called his impeachment “illegal and unconstitutional” even though, Kessler and company observe, “it’s literally spelled out in the Constitution.” Most valuable, in this rather depressing catalog of untruths, are the fact checkers’ point-by-point analyses, lie by lie, of the relative falsehoods uttered, measured by “Pinocchios.” They even give Trump credit for those extremely unusual moments when his outbursts are “mostly accurate.”

Readers will want to add in the many COVID-19 falsehoods, but all in all, this is an extremely valuable chronicle.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982151-07-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS WITH A JEW

An important dialogue at a fraught time, emphasizing mutual candor, curiosity, and respect.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

Two bestselling authors engage in an enlightening back-and-forth about Jewishness and antisemitism.

Acho, author of Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man, and Tishby, author of Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth, discuss many of the searing issues for Jews today, delving into whether Jewishness is a religion, culture, ethnicity, or community—or all of the above. As Tishby points out, unlike in Christianity, one can be comfortably atheist and still be considered a Jew. She defines Judaism as a “big tent” religion with four main elements: religion, peoplehood, nationhood, and the idea of tikkun olam (“repairing the world through our actions”). She addresses candidly the hurtful stereotypes about Jews (that they are rich and powerful) that Acho grew up with in Dallas and how Jews internalize these antisemitic judgments. Moreover, Tishby notes, “it is literally impossible to be Jewish and not have any connection with Israel, and I’m not talking about borders or a dot on the map. Judaism…is an indigenous religion.” Acho wonders if one can legitimately criticize “Jewish people and their ideologies” without being antisemitic, and Tishby offers ways to check whether one’s criticism of Jews or Zionism is antisemitic or factually straightforward. The authors also touch on the deteriorating relationship between Black and Jewish Americans, despite their historically close alliance during the civil rights era. “As long as Jewish people get to benefit from appearing white while Black people have to suffer for being Black, there will always be resentment,” notes Acho. “Because the same thing that grants you all access—your skin color—is what grants us pain and punishment in perpetuity.” Finally, the authors underscore the importance of being mutual allies, and they conclude with helpful indexes on vernacular terms and customs.

An important dialogue at a fraught time, emphasizing mutual candor, curiosity, and respect.

Pub Date: April 30, 2024

ISBN: 9781668057858

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon Element

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2024

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BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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