Review by New York Times Review
HOW EVERYTHING BECAME WAR AND THE MILITARY BECAME EVERYTHING: Tales From the Pentagon, by Rosa Brooks. (Simon & Schuster, $17.) As a former high-ranking Pentagon official, Brooks was, as she put it, "part of a vast bureaucratic death-dealing enterprise." In her book - equal parts memoir and history - she charts the United States' shift in military strategy, accompanied by an uncomfortable blurring of boundaries between peace and war. THE INSEPARABLES, by Stuart Nadler. (Back Bay/Little, Brown, $15.99.) In this wise and witty novel, three generations of women suffer indignities in a time of increased scrutiny: Henrietta, widowed and desperate to improve her finances, has approved the reissue of the book she wrote decades earlier (and has regretted ever since); her daughter, Oona; and her granddaughter, Lydia, reeling and humiliated after a nude photo of her circulated among her classmates. JACKSON, 1964: And Other Dispatches From Fifty Years of Reporting on Race in America, by Calvin Trillin. (Random House, $18.) As a reporter, first for Time and now The New Yorker, Trillin has covered over five decades of the civil rights movement and its aftermath. His book comprises essays and reporting from across the country, standing as a reminder of the progress that has, and has not, been made. THE SUNLIGHT PILGRIMS, by Jenni Fagan. (Hogarth, $16.) At the outset of Fagan's novel, it's 2020 and the residents of a fictional Scottish town are bracing for an unthinkably cold winter. The story centers on three characters: Dylan, a hapless Londoner; a woman, Constance; and her transgendered child, Stella, whose transition depends on getting the hormones she needs. Stella's inner turmoil matches the impending storm; our reviewer, Marisa Silver, praised how "ordinary, even banal, life dramas unfold while the existential noose is tightening." PINPOINT: How GPS Is Changing Technology, Culture, and Our Minds, by Greg Milner. (Norton, $16.95.) Milner examines how the Global Positioning System, better known as GPS, soared from its military origins to become a staple of everyday life, with a focus on its success as an engineering and technical marvel. Along with history, Milner looks at practical considerations that spring from knowing our exact location. HEROES OF THE FRONTIER, by Dave Eggers. (Vintage, $16.95.) Fleeing suburban life, a woman brings along her two children on a road trip to Alaska. The children, Ana and Paul, soulful and intelligent, form the novel's emotional core; our reviewer, Barbara Kingsolver, called them "a dynamic duo who command us to pay attention to the objects we find in our path, and stop pretending we already know the drill."
Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [August 30, 2019]
Review by Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Best-selling master essayist Trillin (Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin, 2011) has created an exceptional collection of the articles he has written as a staff writer on race and racism for the New Yorker between 1964 and 2008. These aren't flashy stories; in fact, they bring to mind the localism of a community newspaper. Yet in them Trillin addresses the sensitive, complex issues he raises from a national perspective. He brings us into numerous uncomfortable situations, exposing through perceptive observations and nuanced humor the insidious nature of discriminatory practices. From the title story and its revelations about the Mississippi voter registration and education drives of the early 1960s to the treatment of black student protesters in Wisconsin, Louisiana's black-blood laws, and the danger of accepting moderation when it comes to fighting racism, these inquiries expose the headwinds African Americans have faced in gaining equal footing under the law. Each piece is followed by a brief and telling update. Trillin's exceptional storytelling skills and deep sense of connection help us see each of the people he portrays as dignified individuals in profoundly trying situations. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Popular Trillin is always a draw, and the subject of this caring compilation will double this volume's appeal.--Kaplan, Dan Copyright 2016 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Trillin (Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin), a regular contributor to the New Yorker since 1963, collects his insights and musings on race in America in previously published essays from over 50 years of reporting. They cover events from the 1964 voter registration drives in Jackson, Miss., to a 2006 deadly shooting on Long Island, N.Y., "the single most segregated suburban area in the United States." Providing abundant context and telling details, Trillin covers the Mardi Gras Zulu parade in New Orleans, the resistance to school integration in Denver, race relations in the Mormon Church in Utah, a stop-and-frisk with tragic results in Seattle, and the confrontation between Italians and African-Americans over the construction of an apartment building called Kawaida Towers in Newark, N.J. Most of these episodes take place in the 1960s and '70s, so Trillin provides updates at the end of each essay to show how the issues have evolved and what progress, if any, has been made. He also delves into the definitions of black and white in modern-day Louisiana and the qualities of a southern "moderate" in the 1970s, and invites a black civil rights activist to tell the story of her hardscrabble life in Dorchester County, S.C., in her own words. As Trillin notes in his introduction, today's African-American students are more isolated than they were 40 years ago, education policy makers have abandoned integration as a cause, and a number of states have recently passed laws meant to suppress non-white votes. What's shocking is how topical and relatively undated many of these essays seem today. Agent: Eric Simonoff, William Morris Endeavor. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
Many fans of journalist Trillin might not associate him with the civil rights movement, but this work is here to remind us that the complications of race in America have always been a vehicle for his sharp writing and criticism. In his introduction, the author explains his ambivalence about being labeled a hero of the Freedom Rides when he was covering them for Time in the 1960s. These New Yorker essays span the gamut from a long piece on a fizzled boycott of the Zulu Mardi Gras parade to a recent racially charged murder trial on Long Island. The most striking is a simple transcript of black voting rights activist -Victoria DeLee's life story in a dated Southern dialect. While each of these essays are interesting in their own right, many meander with trivial details, and Trillin does not make much of a case for their cohesiveness or why the compilation is really necessary. VERDICT This book is supposedly a contribution to the current "volcanic national conversation about race and racism," but it makes one wonder whether or not more relevant analysis can be offered on this crucially important topic than rehashed essays from a prolific white writer.-Kate Stewart, American Folklife Ctr., Washington, DC © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A veteran reporter collects some significant pieces about race that originally appeared in the New Yorker, his publishing home since 1963.The author of some 30 titles, Trillin (Dogfight: The 2012 Presidential Campaign in Verse, 2012, etc.) revisits the last half-century's racial struggles in various regions of the country, and readers are likely to come away thinking, "so much has not really changed all that much." The first essay, the titular piece, deals with the struggle for voting rights in Mississippi, and older readers will find themselves swept back into sanguinary events that will seem both historical and immediate. "No sophisticated study of public opinion is needed," writes the author, "to establish the fact that in the United States, North and South, a white life is considered to be of more value than a Negro life." Later on is a 2008 piece about the racial foundations of a 2006 shooting on Long Island. (Progress, we see, has been incremental and even barely visible in some cases.) Trillin investigates the racial aspects of Mardi Gras parades, racial turmoil at a Wisconsin university, the vast racial differences in criminal sentencing in Texas, housing disputes, racially discriminatory admissions to a Boston disco, a woman's struggle to change the racial labeling on her birth certificate, and much, much more. Throughout, the author's tone remains calm, analytical, and reasonablethough he invariably finds a detail or two, or comments by principals, that ascend to the level of symbol. He quotes, for example, a Texas district attorney about a case involving a man who sold a single marijuana cigarette and was sentenced to 30 years: "I don't see that this is a very unusual verdict." Trillin ends each piece with a brief update about the situation and the players involved. Haunting pieces that show how our window on the past is often a mirror. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.