Magazine article The New Yorker

Briefly Noted

Magazine article The New Yorker

Briefly Noted

Article excerpt

Briefly Noted

Shattered, by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes (Crown). This withering account of Hillary Clinton's Presidential campaign draws on interviews conducted with staffers as the race unfolded. Robby Mook, who ran the operation, is portrayed as being obsessed with analytics and demographics, to the exclusion of the traditional politics of persuasion. Regional directors, begging for resources, are told that their states won't matter, and everyone waits for the next headline about e-mails. The candidate herself, largely out of view, emerges mostly to spread blame: "In her view, it was up to the people she paid to find the right message for her." The book's perspective yields a great deal of backroom color, but its insights are limited, which is partly the point: the Clinton campaign never had a clear picture of its own candidate or of what was coming.

The Great Cat and Dog Massacre, by Hilda Kean (Chicago). Over four days in September, 1939, pet owners in London, anticipating an aerial bombing campaign by the Germans, euthanized some four hundred thousand cats and dogs. Kean's goal, in this multifaceted history, is to get at the many reasons for the unprecedented event, which was voluntary, advised against by major governmental bodies, and premature: the first bombs didn't fall until seven months later. Pursuing questions as varied as a pet's value in the years leading up to the war, how the idea of war-preparedness (or "doing things") goaded people into acting drastically (and often pointlessly), and how the event shaped thinking on animal rights, Kean achieves an unusual psychological portrait of a society in wartime. …

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