A hilarious and pertinent parody to help pass the time until the November election decides the nation’s fate.



Lithgow continues his poetic skewering of “a POTUS whose pants are routinely on fire.”

In this clever follow-up to Dumpty: The Age of Trump in Verse (2019), the actor and author unleashes more razor-sharp satirical wit, lampooning the second half of “our distractible,” Twitter-obsessed chief’s presidential term. Lithgow begins with the impeachment in late 2019 and moves through the litany of lies and blunders that have formed the Trump administration’s teetering foundation. Beyond the primary target, the author also draws farcical caricatures of fumbling politicos like senior advisers and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani (“filled with rage and babbling bluster, / ‘America’s Mayor’ has lost his luster”). Lithgow renders Mitch McConnell as a manipulative, suffocatingly partisan reptile: “By keeping his party in line and tight-knitted, / The Tortoise prevailed and got Dumpty acquitted / But by treating the trial as a legal blood sport, / He rendered the Senate a kangaroo court.” Political strategist and a man Lithgow calls the “dirty trickster, artful dodger,” Roger Stone gets a full-page poem and makes good company with another Trump blunder: “substituting his Sharpie for science” after mistracking Hurricane Dorian. The cover art and interior line drawings provide suitable graphic accompaniment to the text. As with the first volume, this one is a short, succinct, laugh-out-loud affair, and no one in the Trump administration is above Lithgow’s eagle-eyed scrutiny. Unwilling to leave even readers with limited political knowledge behind, the author also includes brief profiles of the politicians that he eviscerates. All the snarky novelty doesn’t reveal anything new nor untrue; rather, Lithgow whisks the obvious into a creatively brilliant distraction that most readers will enjoy. Even loyal Trumpers may find a stray chuckle for the ridiculousness and the current administration’s political circus.

A hilarious and pertinent parody to help pass the time until the November election decides the nation’s fate.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-79720-946-3

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Chronicle Prism

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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A sweet-and-sour set of pieces on loss, absurdity, and places they intersect.


Sedaris remains stubbornly irreverent even in the face of pandemic lockdowns and social upheaval.

In his previous collection of original essays, Calypso (2018), the author was unusually downbeat, fixated on aging and the deaths of his mother and sister. There’s bad news in this book, too—most notably, the death of his problematic and seemingly indestructible father at 96—but Sedaris generally carries himself more lightly. On a trip to a gun range, he’s puzzled by boxer shorts with a holster feature, which he wishes were called “gunderpants.” He plays along with nursing-home staffers who, hearing a funnyman named David is on the premises, think he’s Dave Chappelle. He’s bemused by his sister Amy’s landing a new apartment to escape her territorial pet rabbit. On tour, he collects sheaves of off-color jokes and tales of sexual self-gratification gone wrong. His relationship with his partner, Hugh, remains contentious, but it’s mellowing. (“After thirty years, sleeping is the new having sex.”) Even more serious stuff rolls off him. Of Covid-19, he writes that “more than eight hundred thousand people have died to date, and I didn’t get to choose a one of them.” The author’s support of Black Lives Matter is tempered by his interest in the earnest conscientiousness of organizers ensuring everyone is fed and hydrated. (He refers to one such person as a “snacktivist.”) Such impolitic material, though, puts serious essays in sharper, more powerful relief. He recalls fending off the flirtations of a 12-year-old boy in France, frustrated by the language barrier and other factors that kept him from supporting a young gay man. His father’s death unlocks a crushing piece about dad’s inappropriate, sexualizing treatment of his children. For years—chronicled in many books—Sedaris labored to elude his father’s criticism. Even in death, though, it proves hard to escape or laugh off.

A sweet-and-sour set of pieces on loss, absurdity, and places they intersect.

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-39245-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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A scattershot exercise in preaching to the choir.


A British journalist fulminates against Black Lives Matter, critical race theory, and other threats to White privilege.

“There is an assault going on against everything to do with the Western world—its past, present, and future.” So writes Spectator associate editor Murray, whose previous books have sounded warnings against the presumed dangers of Islam and of non-Western immigration to the West. As the author argues, Westerners are supposed to take in refugees from Africa, Asia, and Latin America while being “expected to abolish themselves.” Murray soon arrives at a crux: “Historically the citizens of Europe and their offspring societies in the Americas and Australasia have been white,” he writes, while the present is bringing all sorts of people who aren’t White into the social contract. The author also takes on the well-worn subject of campus “wokeness,” a topic of considerable discussion by professors who question whether things have gone a bit too far; indeed, the campus is the locus for much of the anti-Western sentiment that Murray condemns. The author’s arguments against reparations for past damages inflicted by institutionalized slavery are particularly glib. “It comes down to people who look like the people to whom a wrong was done in history receiving money from people who look like the people who may have done the wrong,” he writes. “It is hard to imagine anything more likely to rip apart a society than attempting a wealth transfer based on this principle.” Murray does attempt to negotiate some divides reasonably, arguing against “exclusionary lines” and for Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s call for a more vigorous and welcoming civil culture. Too often, however, the author falters, as when he derides Gen. Mark Milley for saying, “I want to understand white rage. And I’m white”—perhaps forgetting the climacteric White rage that Milley monitored on January 6, 2021.

A scattershot exercise in preaching to the choir.

Pub Date: April 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-316202-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Broadside Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2022

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