The former guy is at is again, suing a publisher to halt a book critical of him: Trump Threatens to Sue Former Prosecutor, S&S over Forthcoming Tell-All:
Embattled former president Donald Trump is threatening to sue publisher Simon & Schuster and author and former New York criminal prosecutor Mark Pomerantz over the forthcoming publication of People vs. Donald Trump: An Inside Account….
The threat marks the latest attempt by Trump to stop publication of a book that criticizes him—which so far have only served to sell books.
Publication is scheduled for February 7th.
I expect to be back to offering full book reviews next week Sorry about this extended hiatus. But here is a selection of this week’s new nonfiction. Yeah, Mike Pompeo also published a book today: Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love. No thanks.
THIS WEEK’S NEW HARDCOVERS
- Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia, by David Graeber. In graduate school, David Graeber conducted ethnographic field research in Madagascar for his doctoral thesis on the island’s politics and history of slavery and magic. During this time, he encountered the Zana-Malata, an ethnic group of mixed descendants of the many pirates who settled on the island at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia, Graeber’s final posthumous book, is the outgrowth of this early research and the culmination of ideas that he developed in his classic, bestselling works Debt and The Dawn of Everything (written with the archaeologist David Wengrow). In this lively, incisive exploration, Graeber considers how the protodemocratic, even libertarian practices of the Zana-Malata came to shape the Enlightenment project defined for too long as distinctly European. He illuminates the non-European origins of what we consider to be “Western” thought and endeavors to recover forgotten forms of social and political order that gesture toward new, hopeful possibilities for the future.
- Against the World: Anti-Globalism and Mass Politics Between the World Wars, by Tara Zahra.
Before the First World War, enthusiasm for a borderless world reached its height. International travel, migration, trade, and progressive projects on matters ranging from women’s rights to world peace reached a crescendo. Yet in the same breath, an undercurrent of reaction was growing, one that would surge ahead with the outbreak of war and its aftermath. Zahra examines how nationalism, rather than internationalism, came to ensnare world politics in the early twentieth century. The air went out of the globalist balloon with the First World War as quotas were put on immigration and tariffs on trade, not only in the United States but across Europe, where war and disease led to mass societal upheaval.
Blunt Instruments: Recognizing Racist Cultural Infrastructure in Memorials, Museums, and Patriotic Practices, by Kristin Hass. A field guide to the memorials, museums, and practices that commemorate white supremacy in the United States—and how to reimagine a more deeply shared cultural infrastructure for the future. Cultural infrastructure has been designed to maintain structures of inequality, and while it doesn’t seem to be explicitly about race, it often is. Blunt Instruments helps readers identify, contextualize, and name elements of our everyday landscapes and cultural practices that are designed to seem benign or natural but which, in fact, work tirelessly to tell us vital stories about who we are, how we came to be, and who belongs. “If you have ever wanted to understand how and why monuments work, this stunning book is your decoder ring. Blunt Instruments is a sharp tool for interpreting the racial implications of America’s cultural and physical landscape, from the town square to the National Mall. Bursting with keen insights rendered in a lively, conversational tone, Kristin Hass’s timely guide breaks down the hidden meanings behind monuments, museums, and patriotic traditions, revealing not only that no act of memorialization can ever be neutral but also that the claim of neutrality is itself a weapon of cultural combat.”
—Tiya Miles, author of All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake
The Bill of Obligations: The Ten Habits of Good Citizens, by Richard Haass. The ten obligations that Haass introduces here as a counterbalance to the Bill of Rights are essential for healing our divisions and safeguarding the country’s future. These obligations reenvision what it means to be an American citizen. They are not a burden but rather commitments that we make to fellow citizens and to the government to uphold democracy and counter the growing apathy, anger, selfishness, division, disinformation, and violence that threaten us all. Through an expert blend of civics, history, and political analysis, this book illuminates how Americans can rediscover and recover the attitudes and behaviors that have contributed so much to this country’s success over the centuries.
Children of the State: Stories of Survival and Hope in the Juvenile Justice System, by Jeff Hobbs. Just as he did with The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, Jeff Hobbs has crafted a gorgeous, captivating, and transcendent work of journalism with tremendous emotional power. Intimate and profound, relevant and revelatory, Children of the State masterfully blends personal stories with larger questions about race, class, prison reform, justice, and even about the concept of “fate.”
Waco: David Koresh, the Branch Davidians, and A Legacy of Rage, by Jeff Guinn. In my review of Chelsea Manning’s ReadMe.txt, I quoted her as writing “I don’t think people who are not from that part of the world understand just what a formative event the stand-off at Waco was, or that it still feels like recent, urgent history to many.” In this book, Guinn takes a deep dive into the event. For the first time in thirty years, more than a dozen former ATF agents who participated in the initial February 28, 1993, raid speak on the record about the poor decisions of their commanders that led to this deadly confrontation. Revelations in this book include why the FBI chose to end the siege with the use of CS gas; how both ATF and FBI officials tried and failed to cover up their agencies’ mistakes; where David Koresh plagiarized his infamous prophecies; and direct links between the Branch Davidian tragedy and the modern militia movement in America. Notorious conspiracist Alex Jones is a part of the Waco story. So much is new, and stunning.
- On Savage Shores: How Indigenous Americans Discovered Europe, by Caroline Dodds Pennock. A landmark work of narrative history that shatters our previous Eurocentric understanding of the Age of Discovery by telling the story of the Indigenous Americans who journeyed across the Atlantic to Europe after 1492. For tens of thousands of Aztecs, Maya, Totonacs, Inuit and others—enslaved people, diplomats, explorers, servants, traders—their experiences made was as if they were discovering Europe. From the Brazilian king who met Henry VIII to the Aztecs who mocked up human sacrifice at the court of Charles V; from the Inuk baby who was put on show in a London pub to the mestizo children of Spaniards who returned “home” with their fathers; from the Inuit who harpooned ducks on the Avon river to the many servants employed by Europeans of every rank: here are a people who were rendered exotic, demeaned, and marginalized, but whose worldviews and cultures had a profound impact on European civilization. Drawing on their surviving literature and poetry and subtly layering European eyewitness accounts against the grain, Pennock gives us a sweeping account of the Indigenous American presence in, and impact on, early modern Europe.
- Your Consent Is Not Required: The Rise in Psychiatric Detentions, Forced Treatment, and Abusive Guardianships, by Rob Wipond. There’s a common misconception that, due to asylum closures, only “dangerous” people get committed now. In fact, more law-abiding Americans today are being involuntarily committed and forcibly treated “for their own good” than at any time in history. Forced psychiatric interventions today occur in thousands of public and private hospitals, and also in group and long-term care facilities, troubled-teen and residential treatment centers, and even in people’s own homes under outpatient commitment orders. Intended to “help,” for many people the experiences are terrifying, traumatizing, and permanently damaging.
- What's Gotten Into You: The Story of Your Body's Atoms, from the Big Bang Through Last Night's Dinner, by Dan Levitt. “The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.” ― Carl Sagan
Every one of us contains a billion times more atoms than all the grains of sand in the earth’s deserts. If you weigh 150 pounds, you’ve got enough carbon to make 25 pounds of charcoal, enough salt to fill a saltshaker, enough chlorine to disinfect several backyard swimming pools, and enough iron to forge a 3-inch nail. But how did these elements combine to make us human? This informative, eye-opening, and eminently readable book is the story of our atoms’ long strange journey from the Big Bang to the creation of stars, through the assembly of Planet Earth, and the formation of life as we know it. It’s also the story of the scientists who made groundbreaking discoveries and unearthed extraordinary insights into the composition of life. Behind their unexpected findings were investigations marked by fierce rivalries, obsession, heartbreak, flashes of insight, and flukes of blind luck. Ultimately they’ve helped us understand the mystery of our existence: how a quadrillion atoms made of particles from the Big Bang now animate each of our cells.
All book links in this diary are to my online bookstore The Literate Lizard. If you already have a favorite indie bookstore, please keep supporting them. If you’re able to throw a little business my way, that would be appreciated. Use the coupon code DAILYKOS for 15% off your order, in gratitude for your support (an ever-changing smattering of new releases are already discounted 15% each week). We also partner Libro.fm for audiobooks. Libro.fm is similar to Amazon’s Audible, with a la carte audiobooks, or a $14.99 monthly membership which includes the audiobook of your choice and 20% off subsequent purchases during the month.
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