Inspired and inspiring reading for troubled times.

RIGHTEOUS TROUBLEMAKERS

UNTOLD STORIES OF THE SOCIAL JUSTICE MOVEMENT IN AMERICA

The prominent Baptist preacher and activist spotlights the work of the “unsung heroes” of modern social justice movements.

For Sharpton, the 2020 George Floyd murder protests recalled the civil rights marches of the 1960s. While the former event made clear that the “hardships and victories” of all marginalized groups had merged into a single fight, both events were alike in how the bravery of everyday people had been “overlooked or cast aside.” In this apt follow-up to last year’s Rise Up: Confronting a Country at the Crossroads, the author begins with story of Darnella Frazier, who recorded Floyd’s murder on her cellphone to honor truth and all Black men who live in fear of White supremacy. In his discussion of other police brutality victims, Sharpton recalls another police chokehold victim, Eric Garner, as well as his mother, Gwen Carr. In the years after her son’s death, Carr joined forces with other similarly bereaved mothers to form Mothers of the Movement, an organization dedicated to “raising social awareness of police violence.” Yet as Sharpton emphasizes throughout, the larger movement of which all these individuals are part was built on the efforts of early civil rights activists like James Meredith, the first Black man to graduate from the rabidly segregationist University of Mississippi, and Claudette Colvin, the poor Black girl whose 1955 arrest for refusing to sit at the back of an Alabama bus inspired the more “mediagenic” Rosa Parks to action. Sharpton also pays extended homage to Pauli Murray, a queer mid-20th-century lawyer and feminist. Co-founder of the National Organization for Women with Betty Friedan and others, her legal scholarship informed the work of such judicial luminaries as Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Seeking to rectify omissions of history, Sharpton delivers a fierce and celebratory book that offers insight into ways everyone can transform the pain of injustice into the “righteous troublemak[ing]” that uplifts all.

Inspired and inspiring reading for troubled times.

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-335-63991-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Hanover Square Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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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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A scattershot exercise in preaching to the choir.

THE WAR ON THE WEST

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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