Solid, sharp, articulate work—not just advertising for a possible 2024 presidential run.



The senior senator from Minnesota offers a thorough history of trustbusting in America and an urgent plea for stricter enforcement.

Klobuchar is on a mission to strengthen and enforce federal antitrust laws in order to halt the growing consolidation of big business, which thwarts competition and exacerbates economic inequality. This book, unlike her standard-issue political memoir, The Senator Next Door (2015), is both a diligently researched history lesson and a well thought out plan, meticulously delineated, to take on “corporate consolidation, Congressional inertia, and the conservative courts.” Showcasing her hardworking Midwestern roots, the author moves from her childhood in a Minneapolis suburb—her father wrote for the Star Tribune, and her paternal grandfather was a miner, a profession for which strong unions were crucial—to the initial growth of the Granger movement in response to grain price monopolies in the heartland. The first federal legislation was put forward by Ohio Sen. John Sherman in 1890, but it was not enforced until Theodore Roosevelt assumed the presidency and sought to dismantle the Northern Securities railroad monopoly, among many others. In 1911, Howard Taft broke up Standard Oil, thanks in large part to Ida Tarbell’s groundbreaking exposé, which set the stage for the passage of more antitrust legislation—e.g., the Clayton Antitrust Act and Federal Trade Commission Act, both passed in 1914. Yet the progressive era gave way to war-caused fatigue and the reopening of certain legal loopholes. In addition to sketching the beliefs of the Chicago versus Harvard schools of thought on monopolies, Klobuchar examines key cases in the digital age (AT&T, Microsoft), alarming mergers in high tech and health care industries, and suits brought against Google and Facebook. The author also clearly shows how the previous administration’s pro-business stance led to significant reductions in important resources like antitrust lawyers. The final section, “The Path Forward,” is a staggeringly detailed, impressively documented and presented “list of the Top 25 recommendations to improve competition in our nation.”

Solid, sharp, articulate work—not just advertising for a possible 2024 presidential run.

Pub Date: April 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-65489-6

Page Count: 624

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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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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A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.


Straight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism.

In her feisty debut book, Oluo, essayist, blogger, and editor at large at the Establishment magazine, writes from the perspective of a black, queer, middle-class, college-educated woman living in a “white supremacist country.” The daughter of a white single mother, brought up in largely white Seattle, she sees race as “one of the most defining forces” in her life. Throughout the book, Oluo responds to questions that she has often been asked, and others that she wishes were asked, about racism “in our workplace, our government, our homes, and ourselves.” “Is it really about race?” she is asked by whites who insist that class is a greater source of oppression. “Is police brutality really about race?” “What is cultural appropriation?” and “What is the model minority myth?” Her sharp, no-nonsense answers include talking points for both blacks and whites. She explains, for example, “when somebody asks you to ‘check your privilege’ they are asking you to pause and consider how the advantages you’ve had in life are contributing to your opinions and actions, and how the lack of disadvantages in certain areas is keeping you from fully understanding the struggles others are facing.” She unpacks the complicated term “intersectionality”: the idea that social justice must consider “a myriad of identities—our gender, class, race, sexuality, and so much more—that inform our experiences in life.” She asks whites to realize that when people of color talk about systemic racism, “they are opening up all of that pain and fear and anger to you” and are asking that they be heard. After devoting most of the book to talking, Oluo finishes with a chapter on action and its urgency. Action includes pressing for reform in schools, unions, and local governments; boycotting businesses that exploit people of color; contributing money to social justice organizations; and, most of all, voting for candidates who make “diversity, inclusion and racial justice a priority.”

A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58005-677-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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