WHITE-OUT

THE CIA, DRUGS AND THE PRESS

An investigative report on the CIA’s involvement in drug dealing and other nefarious deeds and the failure of the press to expose them. Nation columnist Cockburn and St. Clair (co-writer with Cockburn and Ken Silverstein of the newsletter Counterpunch) begin their tale with an account of Gary Webb’s series in the San Jose Mercury News on the CIA’s connection with drug cartels in Latin America. The series set off a firestorm in the African-American community, as it appeared the US government was involved in bringing the plague of crack cocaine to poor black communities. The mainstream press—the New York Times, Washington Post, etc.—pilloried Webb, attacking the accuracy of his reporting and accusing him of fanning —black paranoia.— In the final chapter of the book, however, the authors offer an analysis of a subsequent CIA report that by and large substantiated Webb’s charges. The theme of the book is clear: the CIA acts badly, the mainstream press not only ignores but protects the CIA, yet it turns out the CIA is usually guilty of doing whatever it has been accused of. Cockburn and St. Clair present a litany of CIA misdeeds, from the recruitment of Nazi scientists after WWII to the arming of opium traffickers in Afghanistan. All of this is extremely well documented; much of it is well known, or should be. Yet what they do not do, despite the promise of the title, is spend much time on the press. Questions remain unanswered, under-theorized: Why does so much of the press seem subservient to the CIA? What are the mechanisms underlying this relationship? Does the CIA buy off the press, are reporters on the CIA payroll, or is there simply a cultural and class affinity between the press and the CIA that makes bribing unnecessary? A chilling history—that many will take issue with—of what the CIA has been up to the past 50 years, but disappointing in its analysis.

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 1998

ISBN: 1-85984-139-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Verso

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1998

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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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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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