Edge Library


Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Florida’s governor describes how he turned his state into a “citadel of freedom in a world gone mad.” While DeSantis offers few glimpses into his inner life, it’s clear that he has a healthy sense of self-regard. As he recounts his past, he depicts himself moving from success to success: Little League stardom, captain of Yale’s baseball team, Harvard Law School, officer corps in the Navy, Congress, and chief executive of the Sunshine State. The author presents himself as someone who governs through sheer force of will, never admitting to a single moment of doubt or weakness. At the same time, his ambition compels him to qualify some of his achievements. He characterizes his Ivy League education as something that happened to him, not something he chose, and he takes pains to portray himself as a perpetual political outsider even after winning three terms in Congress. “I may have been serving in Washington, but I would never become of Washington,” he writes. Burnishing his populist bona fides also means asserting that, while he was born and raised in Florida, his upbringing was shaped by the “working-class” values of family in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Most of the gubernatorial “accomplishments” DeSantis boasts about will be familiar to anyone who has been paying attention since 2019. He touts his opposition to “open borders,” increased penalties for “mob violence” in the wake of legitimate protests, and efforts to protect students from critical race theory and children from transgender Disney characters. He devotes entire chapters to his refusal to bow to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the White House Coronavirus Task Force during the Covid-19 pandemic, his attacks on “woke corporatism,” and his disdain for “legacy media.” Anyone hoping for DeSantis to dunk on Donald Trump is going to be disappointed. Except for a few subtle swipes, the governor cannily refers to the ex-president only when establishing himself as the new face of “America First.” Boldly grandiose, turgid, and remarkably unenlightening. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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