Bani-Sadr, president of the Islamic Republic of Iran during the American hostage crisis and the early stages of Iran's war with Iraq, offers an interesting-though frequently incredible and consistently self-serving-memoir of his brief tenure in office. The author portrays himself as the man who not only gave succor to the Ayatollah Khomeini during the years of exile in Iraq and Paris, but who was responsible for much of Khomeini's prominence during that period. But his account, Bani-Sadr is: a moderate who tried to foster democracy in Iran and resisted the authoritarian impulses of the fanatical Shiite clerics; an inspiring military leader who reformed the Shah's military and led the army to a stunning victory over Iraq in the first year of the war (only to be thwarted by mullahs who wanted the war to continue); and an incorruptible public official who, almost alone among Iranian leaders, resisted the wicked influences of the US and the Soviet Union. In the tradition of Persian intrigue, his story is replete with fantastic conspiracy theories, pronounced as incontrovertible fact. Among these are allegations of secret alliances between the Iranian clerics and American officials and an accusation that America surreptitiously started the Iran-Iraq war. Bani-Sadr adds that because of his resistance to Khomeini's attempts to perpetuate the power of the mullahs, he was forced from office and into exile in June 1981. As a historical document, this is a memoir of some importance, and Bani-Sadr's insights into the Machiavellian politics of revolutionary Iran are often absorbing. Nonetheless, frequent sensational accusations render his tale an eccentric, implausible commentary on the tragic folly of the Iranian Revolution.

Pub Date: May 7, 1991

ISBN: 0-08-040563-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1991

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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