A pleasure for fans of both Springsteen and Obama and a fine affirmation of true American values.

RENEGADES

BORN IN THE USA

A richly illustrated companion to the duo’s podcast.

It was Obama, writes Springsteen, who approached him with the idea that they host a podcast together. “Okay, I’m a high school graduate from Freehold, New Jersey, who plays the guitar….What’s wrong with this picture?” Springsteen recalls. He overcame his shyness, fortunately, and the two came together in 2020 for a series of conversations that ranged from shared love for music and cool cars—at one point, the two flee Springsteen’s spread for the beach, the Secret Service hot behind them, with Obama saying of the getaway car, “It’s smooth, man. Smoother than I expected”—to pensive observations on the state of the nation and the world. Obama lets his freak flag fly, with enthusiasms over such things as the Average White Band, funky albeit all-White and Scottish, while Springsteen has frequent opportunities to take philosophical turns. “I believe that I am involved in a ridiculous but noble profession,” he says, “and that music had an impact on me, changed my life, changed who I thought I was, changed who I became.” Few of the world’s problems were solved in the course of their discussions, but the authors point the way in such matters as positive race relations, an icon for which was Springsteen’s friendship with late band mate Clarence Clemons, as witnessed on the cover art for Born to Run. The discourse is at its best when the authors turn into deeply hidden corners, as when they discuss being the sons of absent fathers, with Springsteen allowing that much of his working-class persona is borrowed from his: “My entire body of work, everything that I’ve cared about, everything that I’ve written about, draws from his life story.” A summary of the book’s spirit comes when the former president issues a call to action that’s nicely rock ’n’ roll: “Stir. Shit. Up. And open up new possibilities.”

A pleasure for fans of both Springsteen and Obama and a fine affirmation of true American values.

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-23631-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

A solid work of investigation that, while treading well-covered ground, offers plenty of surprises.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

PERIL

An account of the last gasps of the Trump administration, completing a trilogy begun with Fear (2018) and Rage (2020).

One of Woodward and fellow Washington Post reporter Costa’s most memorable revelations comes right away: Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calling his counterpart in Beijing to assure him that even after Jan. 6 and what Milley saw as an unmistakable attempt at a coup d’état, he would keep Trump from picking a war with China. This depiction has earned much attention on the talking-heads news channels, but more significant is its follow-up: Milley did so because he was concerned that Trump “might still be looking for what Milley called a ‘Reichstag moment.’ ” Milley emerges as a stalwart protector of the Constitution who constantly courted Trump’s ire and yet somehow survived without being fired. No less concerned about Trump’s erratic behavior was Paul Ryan, the former Speaker of the House, who studied the psychiatric literature for a big takeaway: “Do not humiliate Trump in public. Humiliating a narcissist risked real danger, a frantic lashing out if he felt threatened or criticized.” Losing the 2020 election was one such humiliation, and Woodward and Costa closely track the trajectory of Trump’s reaction, from depression to howling rage to the stubborn belief that the election was rigged. There are a few other modest revelations in the book, including the fact that Trump loyalist William Barr warned him that the electorate didn’t like him. “They just think you’re a fucking asshole,” Barr told his boss. That was true enough, and the civil war that the authors recount among various offices in the White House and government reveals that Trump’s people were only ever tentatively his. All the same, the authors note, having drawn on scores of “deep background” interviews, Trump still has his base, still intends vengeance by way of a comeback, and still constitutes the peril of their title.

A solid work of investigation that, while treading well-covered ground, offers plenty of surprises.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982182-91-5

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

An oft-ignored but fully convincing argument that “we cannot prevent the next pandemic without creating a healthy world.”

THE CONTAGION NEXT TIME

The Covid-19 pandemic is not a one-off catastrophe. An epidemiologist presents a cogent argument for a fundamental refocusing of resources on “the foundational forces that shape health.”

In this passionate and instructive book, Galea, dean of the Boston University School of Public Health, writes that Covid emerged because we have long neglected basic preventative measures. “We invest vast amounts of money in healthcare,” he writes, “but comparatively little in health.” Readers looking to learn how governments (mainly the U.S.) mishandled the pandemic have a flood of books to choose from, but Galea has bigger issues to raise. Better medical care will not stop the next epidemic, he warns. We must structure a world “that is resilient to contagions.” He begins by describing the current state of world health, where progress has been spectacular. Global life expectancy has more than doubled since 1900. Malnutrition, poverty, and child mortality have dropped. However, as the author stresses repeatedly, medical progress contributed far less to the current situation than better food, clean water, hygiene, education, and prosperity. That’s the good news. More problematic is that money is a powerful determinant of health; those who have it live longer. Galea begins the bad news by pointing out the misleading statistic that Covid-19 kills less than 1% of those infected; that applies to young people in good health. For those over 60, it kills 6%, for diabetics, over 7%, and those with heart disease, over 10%. It also kills more Blacks than Whites, more poor than middle-class people, and more people without health insurance. The author is clearly not just interested in Covid. He attacks racism, sexism, and poverty in equal measure, making a plea for compassion toward stigmatized conditions such as obesity and addiction. He consistently urges the U.S. government, which has spared no expense and effort to defeat the pandemic, to do the same for social injustice.

An oft-ignored but fully convincing argument that “we cannot prevent the next pandemic without creating a healthy world.”

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-19-757642-7

Page Count: 280

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more