A thoughtful portrait of a complex world leader.

THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM

GOLDA MEIR AND HER PATH TO POWER

An in-depth portrait of a woman of contradictions.

An emeritus law professor and member of the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies, Lahav takes a feminist perspective in her examination of Golda Meir (1898-1978), the former prime minister of Israel, seeking to show how “she balanced her womanhood with her political ambitions.” Born in Kiev, Golda (as she preferred to be called) was the second daughter in a traditional patriarchal family; she was expected to marry and become a homemaker. The family moved to America in 1906, settling in Milwaukee, where Golda became increasingly oppressed by her parents’ strictures. When she was 14, she took off for Denver, joining her older sister. There, she became attracted to the nascent Zionist party and began her career as a Zionist-socialist activist. By 1921, she had married and moved with her husband to Palestine, where her “energetic talents” were prized. The marriage, though, suffered, even after the couple had two children. Golda and her husband separated, and she relegated her child care to nannies so she could devote herself to politics. Despite misogyny both within Israel and abroad, Golda rose to prominence. Although she was not named to the nation’s first cabinet in 1948, a slight that angered her, she soon gained central roles: as minister of labor and social security in 1949, minister of foreign affairs in 1956, and Israel’s first female prime minister in 1969. Lahav tries to understand Golda’s lack of interest in feminism, her refusal to “challenge the othering of women,” and her vehement criticism of the women’s liberation movement by speculating about what Golda “might have” felt and by posing salient questions. Famously called “the ablest man in the cabinet” by her mentor, David Ben-Gurion, she was deeply aware that she navigated a man’s world, but as Lahav shows, she felt no responsibility to break the glass ceiling for other women. Her interest was solely in the survival of Israel.

A thoughtful portrait of a complex world leader.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-691-20174-0

Page Count: 376

Publisher: Princeton Univ.

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

TANQUERAY

A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2022

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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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