So levelheaded and full of good sense, it’s almost certain to be ignored.



Brookings Institution fellow and Atlantic Monthly contributing editor Wittes (Confirmation Wars: Preserving Independent Courts in Angry Times, 2006, etc.) argues for a new legal framework for combating the terror war.

According to the current administration, from early on the fight against international jihadist terrorism was “a new kind of war” against “a different type of enemy” requiring military force, criminal and civilian law enforcement and covert actions, touching everything from immigration to banking to biomedical research and involving foreign police and intelligence agencies. Notwithstanding this early understanding, the Bush administration has chosen, instead, to manage the war almost purely as a military matter, relying on the president’s power as commander in chief to authorize any number of dubious practices pertaining to detention, surveillance, interrogation, transfer and trial of terrorist suspects. Outraged liberals decry the assault on civil liberties; conservatives marvel at their tender solicitude toward fanatics trying to murder us. Similarly, Wittes’s premise that the war on terror is real and requires vigorous prosecution will dismay congenital critics of the president, just as his call to curb executive authority will unsettle Bush supporters. Unsurprised that this or any president would push the envelope of executive authority in the aftermath of 9/11, Wittes persuasively argues that as a long-term strategy such a power grab is politically doomed. Nor can we safely rely on the Supreme Court’s piecemeal review of the president’s overreaching, placing military and security matters in the hands of the judiciary, the least qualified branch to deal with such issues. In an argument of paramount interest to specialists and in prose comprehensible for all (best illustrated by his discussion of the detainees at Guantánamo), Wittes insists that it is past time for Congress to take up its law-making responsibilities, to put an end to the predictable, largely unproductive confrontations between the executive and judiciary on a matter so vital to the country’s welfare.

So levelheaded and full of good sense, it’s almost certain to be ignored.

Pub Date: June 23, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-59420-179-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2008

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

Did you like this book?