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THE MUELLER REPORT

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

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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WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

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

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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. 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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