Harvey Weinstein is a convicted criminal, but as bad as you may think his behavior was, your opinion of him is sure to drop another couple of notches once you read Ken Auletta’s new book. It is a cliché to say that so many who worked with and wrote about Weinstein over the years knew that he was a sexual predator, including Auletta himself, but no one would ever come forward or go on the record with accusations. Auletta makes up for lost time by tracing Weinstein’s rise and fall in minute detail, including his early family life, and communicates with Weinstein himself as he sits in prison and awaits further trials. Weinstein receives his justifiable due for his talent at spotting good scripts, and he often championed female directors, notably Jane Campion. There is no Rosebud moment in the book, so let’s just say this: his mother, Miriam, whose name, along with that of his father, Max, gave his studio Miramax its title, was apparently a first-class gorgon. Psychiatrists, start your hour.
There was a time when the Islamic State looked like it would succeed where Osama bin Laden had failed, fighting ferociously to take as much land in Iraq and Syria as possible. Michael Gordon brilliantly dissects the decisions made in national-security sessions and on the ground that resulted in U.S.-led forces gaining the upper hand. His account of the battle to retake Mosul alone is worth the price of the book; rarely has urban warfare been brought so vividly to life. ISIS may be shattered, but as Gordon warns, the successful lessons learned in the operation called Inherent Resolve have yet to be fully studied and absorbed by the U.S. military.
The narrow strip of barrier beach, about 32 miles long, between the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island’s Great South Bay is made up of 17 small towns, home over the years to such owners and renters as Geraldine Ferraro and Ethan Hawke, both in Saltaire, and Mel Brooks, in Lonelyville. But what makes Fire Island so famous are Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove, almost exclusively gay, where daylife has been as important as nightlife in giving residents over the decades a safe refuge from a society that for so long proved unwelcoming (and worse) to queer culture. Jack Parlett first came to this part of the island when he made the trek from nearby Point O’ Woods, a town so white and straight and rich it might as well be called “Romneyville.” Thus began not only his love affair with this area of Fire Island but also his mission to chronicle in both sober and entertaining fashion the past and present of a place where James Baldwin, Frank O’Hara, Patricia Highsmith, and Calvin Klein could be themselves.