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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Gates offers a persuasive, 30,000-foot view of a global problem that, he insists, can be prevented given will and money.

HOW TO PREVENT THE NEXT PANDEMIC

The tech mogul recounts the health care–related dimensions of his foundation in what amounts to a long policy paper.

“Outbreaks are inevitable, but pandemics are optional.” Thus states the epidemiologist Larry Brilliant, a Gates adviser, who hits on a critically important point: Disease is a fact of nature, but a pandemic is a political creation of a kind. Therefore, there are political as well as medical solutions that can enlist governments as well as scientists to contain outbreaks and make sure they don’t explode into global disasters. One critical element, Gates writes, is to alleviate the gap between high- and low-income countries, the latter of which suffer disproportionately from outbreaks. Another is to convince governments to ramp up production of vaccines that are “universal”—i.e., applicable to an existing range of disease agents, especially respiratory pathogens such as coronaviruses and flus—to prepare the world’s populations for the inevitable. “Doing the right thing early pays huge dividends later,” writes Gates. Even though doing the right thing is often expensive, the author urges that it’s a wise investment and one that has never been attempted—e.g., developing a “global corps” of scientists and aid workers “whose job is to wake up every day thinking about diseases that could kill huge numbers of people.” To those who object that such things are easier said than done, Gates counters that the development of the current range of Covid vaccines was improbably fast, taking a third of the time that would normally have been required. At the same time, the author examines some of the social changes that came about through the pandemic, including the “new normal” of distance working and learning—both of which, he urges, stand to be improved but need not be abandoned.

Gates offers a persuasive, 30,000-foot view of a global problem that, he insists, can be prevented given will and money.

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-53448-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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