An essential document for anyone concerned with the unfolding constitutional crisis of the Trump presidency and one that...

THE MUELLER REPORT

The book that everyone’s been waiting for—and one guaranteed to raise as many questions as it answers.

The Mueller Report is in the public domain, but the Washington Post adds significant value to it with commentary, additional documents, and timelines. Reporters Marc Fisher and Sari Horwitz, for instance, provide a compare-and-contrast essay on the report’s principal, Robert Mueller, the former head of the FBI, who, like the ultimate subject of the report, Donald J. Trump, was raised in wealth and privilege but took a sharply different path of service: “At pivotal points in their lives, they made sharply divergent choices—as students, as draft-age men facing the dilemma of the Vietnam War, as ambitious alpha males deciding where to focus their energies.” Reporters Rosalind Helderman and Matt Zapotosky, who cover politics and the Justice Department respectively, write that the report was set in motion by “the commander-in-chief’s rage,” the result of having fired FBI Director James Comey for refusing to avow publicly that the president was not under investigation. The report identifies clear episodes of official obstructions of justice while being very careful in its language. For example, the report makes it quite clear that Mueller and his staff did not consider “collusion” itself a matter for investigation or prosecution, though the more technical charge “conspiracy to defraud the United States” was applied to former Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. For all its redacted passages, the report provides specific context to other matters under investigation, including negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Russia: “[Michael] Cohen…discussed the Trump Moscow project with Ivanka Trump as to design elements…and Donald Trump Jr. (about his experience in Moscow and possible involvement in the project) during the fall of 2015—about which Trump responded to questioning under oath, “I vaguely remember press inquiries and media reporting during the campaign about whether the Trump Organization had business dealings in Russia.”

An essential document for anyone concerned with the unfolding constitutional crisis of the Trump presidency and one that helps make sense of current headlines.

Pub Date: April 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-982129-73-6

Page Count: 736

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2019

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A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

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WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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