A scattershot collection of the outspoken Harvard law professor's ruminations on various topics, which reflects his already extensively documented interest in the state of the federal judiciary, civil liberties, and Israeli and Jewish issues, among other concerns. Dershowitz gathers these opinion pieces (many drawn from his syndicated newspaper column) into five main areas: judges, justice, and courts; freedom of expression and the rise of intolerance; the state, the law, and the rights of individuals; the law and politics of sex, life, and death; and problems related to Judaism and Jewishness, particularly the problem of anti-Semitism at home and abroad. While his title suggests an element of unpredictability, Dershowitz's stance on most issues is consistent and easy to anticipate. He is a civil libertarian, profoundly protective of the rights of the individual against the interests of the state, a champion of freedom of expression, and a man proud of his Jewish heritage and abhorred by manifestations of anti-Semitism. Though few readers will disagree with these principles, when Dershowitz- -who delights in his role as a gadfly—applies them to specific issues, he draws conclusions and expresses compellingly argued opinions that will make some uncomfortable. He condemns the New York bar's discipline of D.A. Liz Holtzman for publicly criticizing a judge; argues that a Massachusetts law prohibiting child pornography is too broad and should be struck down; condemns the ``speech codes'' on college campuses that prohibit racist, sexist, and homophobic expressions; and suggests that Americans should not invest in anti-Semitic, though newly democratic, Poland. Vintage Dershowitz: trenchant opinions designed to stimulate— and infuriate.

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 1992

ISBN: 0-88687-701-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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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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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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