A spirited collection of provocative pathways.



A new collection of essays from Grayling (Philosophy/New Coll. of the Humanities, London; The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and for Humanism, 2014, etc.), whose distinguished record of accomplishments in the humanities and public service is recognized internationally.

The author organizes this thought-provoking collection of essays—most of them a concise three to four pages—into two sections. The first, “Destructions and Deconstructions,” deals with the problems of the contemporary world, including guns, religion, education, climate change, human rights issues, and global financial crisis. The second, “Constructions and Creations,” which is more philosophically programmatic in its orientation, takes up such themes as the public intellectual, the relationship between science and democracy (“the growth of science and the growth of liberal democracy were not merely contemporaneous, but causally connected”), and “Making the World a Better Place.” Grayling will no doubt offend conservative American readers with “The Prophetess,” a discussion of the “tough and tyrannical” Ayn Rand. “The microcosm of the Randian cult,” he writes, “was a reprise of every historical example of actual or would-be revolutions that have devoured their own.” Grayling will also provoke religious fundamentalists with “The Advantages of Atheist Political Leaders,” in which he writes, “atheist leaders are not going to think they are getting messages from Beyond telling them to go to war. They will not cloak themselves in supernaturalistic justifications, as Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George W. Bush came perilously close to doing when later talking about the decision to invade Iraq in 2002.” However, he’ll likely find plenty of support for his examinations of Chinese and Russian irredentism. Grayling takes a philosophical and ethical approach to human action, which can be at odds with the importance Americans accord to ideological beliefs. Nonetheless, the contrasts he draws between religious and scientific worldviews and practices, as well as his discussions of the role of the public intellectual, are undoubtedly stimulating.

A spirited collection of provocative pathways.

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4088-6461-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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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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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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