Deserves wide attention in our current political landscape.

READ REVIEW

BREAK 'EM UP

RECOVERING OUR FREEDOM FROM BIG AG, BIG TECH, AND BIG MONEY

A forceful argument about the stealthy resurgence of monopoly within the global economy.

Teachout, a law professor at Fordham University, redirects progressive attention toward this easily overlooked issue. “Wall Street,” she writes, “has been a driving force behind the gutting of antitrust laws.” The purported democratic norms of the tech economy have clouded such predatory business practices in many aspects of life, from the effect of Uber on drivers’ livelihoods, to less obvious but chilling examples—e.g., how poultry monopolies have turned farmers into indentured servants. “Uber successfully sold the idea that, if we wanted to use our phones to get a taxi, we needed to destroy 80 years of anti-monopoly laws,” writes Teachout. Furthermore, the “chickenization” model is creeping into many industries, especially restaurant delivery: “Surveillance and power go hand in hand, each reinforcing the other.” Race and class inform many of these hidden narratives: In one chapter, the author tracks how arbitration has become an alternate justice system serving the ultrawealthy. She also discusses the “body snatcher” effect of corporate super PACs on the political system: “corporate institutions replacing democratic institutions by burrowing inside them and using their language and forms.” Similarly, the journalism industry has been gutted by greedy corporate raiders and their continued search for quarterly profit increases. Regarding the secretive CEOs of social media, Teachout writes, “it is crucial that we understand [Mark] Zuckerberg, and monopolists like him, as seekers of political power, for it is only through political action that they can be tamed.” Wide-ranging, well-organized chapters are full of unsettling tidbits, such as Amazon’s courting of the surveillance state via commercial data-sharing. Finally, the author looks back at the original populist antitrust movement, but she also makes the salient point that “we shouldn’t require people to boycott essential communications infrastructure like Facebook and Google in order to demand that they be broken up.” Teachout confidently wields energetic, urgent prose and stark research, adeptly blending subtopics including law and technology.

Deserves wide attention in our current political landscape.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20089-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: All Points/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Dramatic, immersive, and wanting—much like desire itself.

THREE WOMEN

Based on eight years of reporting and thousands of hours of interaction, a journalist chronicles the inner worlds of three women’s erotic desires.

In her dramatic debut about “what longing in America looks like,” Taddeo, who has contributed to Esquire, Elle, and other publications, follows the sex lives of three American women. On the surface, each woman’s story could be a soap opera. There’s Maggie, a teenager engaged in a secret relationship with her high school teacher; Lina, a housewife consumed by a torrid affair with an old flame; and Sloane, a wealthy restaurateur encouraged by her husband to sleep with other people while he watches. Instead of sensationalizing, the author illuminates Maggie’s, Lina’s, and Sloane’s erotic experiences in the context of their human complexities and personal histories, revealing deeper wounds and emotional yearnings. Lina’s infidelity was driven by a decade of her husband’s romantic and sexual refusal despite marriage counseling and Lina's pleading. Sloane’s Fifty Shades of Grey–like lifestyle seems far less exotic when readers learn that she has felt pressured to perform for her husband's pleasure. Taddeo’s coverage is at its most nuanced when she chronicles Maggie’s decision to go to the authorities a few years after her traumatic tryst. Recounting the subsequent trial against Maggie’s abuser, the author honors the triumph of Maggie’s courageous vulnerability as well as the devastating ramifications of her community’s disbelief. Unfortunately, this book on “female desire” conspicuously omits any meaningful discussion of social identities beyond gender and class; only in the epilogue does Taddeo mention race and its impacts on women's experiences with sex and longing. Such oversight brings a palpable white gaze to the narrative. Compounded by the author’s occasionally lackluster prose, the book’s flaws compete with its meaningful contribution to #MeToo–era reporting.

Dramatic, immersive, and wanting—much like desire itself.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4516-4229-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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