Dershowitz turns the spotlight from himself and onto his ideas, which shine with decency and the kind of provocation that...

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SHOUTING FIRE

CIVIL LIBERTIES IN A TURBULENT AGE

Through a series of ever-vibrant essays—some original, some reprints—Harvard law professor and legal celebrity Dershowitz (Letters to a Young Lawyer, p. 1260, etc.) advances his sensible theory that experience filtered through democratic processes is the source of our notions of right and rights.

Where do our rights come from? Considering Dershowitz’s contentious, free-spirited personality, it comes as little surprise that natural law has little appeal to him, nor does the positivist strain of pure-human constructs. It is easy to puncture the sanctity of these approaches, and Dershowitz does just so. In their stead, he proposes the idea of “nurtural” rights: slow accretions of experience from previous injustices, rude lessons from the past, our collective run-ins with wrongs. There may be no consensus on what perfect justice is, but we are often able to find common ground on what is wrong: the Holocaust, the Crusades, slavery. Through this process of trial and error, and applying the tools of democratic politics, we have fashioned a body of fundamental rights—of speech, of and from religion, assembly, and such—and individual rights, particularly as they relate to limitations on the power of the majority. And each right is also a dynamic product, “informed by the gradual changes of history and experience,” both from legal and moral perspectives, and “one must constantly defend it, reconsider it, redefine it, and be prepared to change it.” Because, he states, that is what our law is about: devising processes for resolving conflicts in a pluralist democracy while making sure the majority does not tyrannize the minority, especially the minority of one. Dershowitz understands and accepts liberty's burden—the important rights extended to the unpopular, the marginalized, even the dangerous—and makes a convincing case that such a burden is worth the price.

Dershowitz turns the spotlight from himself and onto his ideas, which shine with decency and the kind of provocation that makes one want to think good and hard.

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2002

ISBN: 0-316-18141-2

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2001

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

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

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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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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