Sharp insider insights into a global dilemma.

THE NAKED DON'T FEAR THE WATER

AN UNDERGROUND JOURNEY WITH AFGHAN REFUGEES

A Canadian journalist’s riveting account of his travels with a friend attempting to flee from Afghanistan to Europe.

In 2015, Aikins, a winner of the George Polk Award, had been covering the war in Afghanistan for seven years. He spent much of that time with a friend he calls Omar (many names have been changed for safety purposes), who frequently served as his translator. By this point, Omar and the rest of his family had decided to try to leave despite the fact that the borders had been closed. Aikins, who looks “uncannily Afghan: almond eyes, black hair, wiry beard,” decided to accompany Omar, paying his way and reporting on the refugee underground, disguising himself as an Afghan migrant and leaving his passport with friends. What sounded at first like a fairly straightforward plan soon fell apart, as Omar delayed again and again, hoping to arrange a marriage with a young woman, or lost his nerve at crucial moments. Often separated, the two ended up together first in Turkey, then in an internment camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, and then in a “squat” in Athens, where they lived with “a mix of activists and migrants.” Aikins is meticulously aware of the difference in the level of danger the two faced. Though he sometimes thought, “What kind of protagonist was he?” as Omar spent weeks mostly lying in bed staring at Facebook, he also acknowledges that “we both knew I could make a phone call to get my passport back and leave, any time I wanted.” Finely, if sometimes bewilderingly, detailed, the book shines a humane spotlight on many of the people the author met along the way as well as on the role chance played in their fates, with particularly moving chapters on life within the Greek refugee camp. The narrative is scrupulous and often suspenseful.

Sharp insider insights into a global dilemma.

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-305858-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 11

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?

A cogent “horror story” about the plot to reanimate mid-20th-century White male supremacy at the expense of abortion access.

THE LIE THAT BINDS

Incisive look at the destructive path of anti-abortion ideology in the U.S.

Even though most Americans believe in a woman’s right to choose—“consistent research has shown that more than 7 in 10 Americans support legal access to abortion”—the radical right has succeeded in steadily eroding reproductive freedoms since Roe v. Wade. According to NARAL Pro-Choice America leaders Hogue and Langford, the campaign against abortion is but a means to an end for the architects of the pro-life movement. Their true aim is the uncontested dominion of White Christian men. The battle began in 1954, when Brown v. Board of Education struck down “state laws used by segregationists to maintain structural inequality in the nation’s schools.” In 1976, the IRS rescinded the tax-exempt status of the Rev. Jerry Falwell’s segregationist Bob Jones University. What has followed, argue the authors convincingly, is more than a half-century of machinations designed “to halt progressive cultural change and maintain power for a privileged minority.” Anti-abortion rhetoric is just a weapon, driven by design, propaganda, disinformation, and cowed Republican politicians—hallmarks of the Trump era. Hogue and Langdon make a strong case that the rises of Trump, fake news, and science skepticism are not flukes but rather the culmination of a dogged campaign by forces still smarting from desegregation and second- and third-wave feminism. The reproductive freedom of American women is the victim of an “anti-democratic power grab on a historic scale.” The authors build a chilling case that the startling 2019 wave of abortion bans across the nation should serve as a canary in the coal mine for citizens concerned with democracy and a catalyst for bolder messaging, better strategic planning, and sustained action to combat disinformation.

A cogent “horror story” about the plot to reanimate mid-20th-century White male supremacy at the expense of abortion access.

Pub Date: July 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-947492-50-9

Page Count: 280

Publisher: Strong Arm Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2020

Did you like this book?

more