Moving testimony to a nation’s deep wounds.

FIVE DAYS

THE FIERY RECKONING OF AN AMERICAN CITY

How one man’s death from police brutality exposed a city’s pain and anger.

On April 12, 2015, 25-year-old Freddie Gray was chased and searched by Baltimore policemen. When they found he had a pocketknife, they arrested him, placing him in leg irons in the back of a police van. By the time the van arrived at the station, Gray was unconscious; at the University of Maryland Medical Center, he underwent surgery for three broken vertebrae and an injured voice box. After a week in a coma, he died. Political analyst and activist Moore, head of the anti-poverty Robin Hood Foundation and a Baltimore native, closely examines the unrest that followed Gray’s death by recounting the experiences of a series of people deeply affected by the events. The result is a visceral collective portrait of a community beset by poverty and injustice. “What really happened over those five days?” Moore asks. “And what do we do next?” Among the voices that the author includes are those of a black policeman hoping “to heal the disconnect between police and the West Baltimore community he grew up in”; a woman whose brother was a victim of police brutality, desperately trying to hold the perpetrators accountable; a white public defender who has devoted her career to working with juveniles; a prominent lawyer who turned to representing plaintiffs in police brutality cases; the owner of the Orioles, stunned by the protestors’ violence, who came to see that his team needed to foster a relationship with the community; a well-regarded civic leader who organized a peaceful protest march that included Congressman Elijah Cummings and local ministers; and the manager of a beloved recreation venue that was protected from the uprisings by a group who made sure that everyone knew the business was black-owned. By focusing on a cross-section of individuals, Moore underscores his point that “our fates are profoundly intertwined.” Gray’s death, a result of the complex consequences of poverty, impels all Americans to “wrestle with the history of complicity and bias.”

Moving testimony to a nation’s deep wounds.

Pub Date: June 23, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-51236-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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