An urgent call for racial justice that demands attention, discussion, and action.

STATE OF EMERGENCY

HOW WE WIN IN THE COUNTRY WE BUILT

Activist and organizer Mallory sounds an alarm against complacency now that a new administration is in the White House.

American history has been full of terrible moments for Black people, but one of particularly pressing importance happened recently. “To wake up on January 6, 2021,” writes the author, “to see a noose hanging in front of the United States Capitol while domestic terrorists breached the complex where our congressional leaders met to legislate, was paralyzing.” Paralyzing but not unexpected: Mallory’s next thought was, “Wow, they finally did it.” The Trump administration, whose leader fomented the revolt, is gone, but the enemies of Black progress remain. Against that, writes the author, “it is not enough to be nonracist.” Black activists and their White allies—who are welcome if they are “careful not to try to own the fight”—must commit to being anti-racist, to constantly combat racism and its exponents. Mallory delivers a series of rules that one wishes were ironic: “Don’t talk back,” reads one, since the consequence is that “You will be deemed dangerous,” while another counsels not to wear a hoodie. Because “my undiluted Blackness is worth fighting for,” the author urges a well-organized movement of resistance that involves, among other tenets, stopping to record every encounter of Black persons and the police, taking down names and badge numbers and filing complaints. Despite her well-thought-through program, which concludes with the rule “Be unapologetic about your Blackness until they respect it,” Mallory calls herself a contributor to and not a leader of the Black Lives Matter movement (she also co-founded the Women’s March on Washington), a movement whose necessity remains self-evident even with the new Biden-Harris presidency: “They must turn over the soil in order to grow a new political landscape for us all.” This is the first book from the Black Privilege imprint, led by radio and TV personality Charlamagne Tha God.

An urgent call for racial justice that demands attention, discussion, and action.

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982173-46-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Black Privilege Publishing/Atria

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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

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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

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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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