Great for anyone still interested.

STARR

A REASSESSMENT

Washington Post editorialist Wittes takes a sympathetic second look at Kenneth Starr.

There’s little middle ground in opinions on the controversial special prosecutor. Depending on whom you ask, Starr is either the man who brought virtue back to Washington or a politically driven witch-hunter. Wittes, by contrast, argues that Starr is an intelligent, sincere, and not particularly partisan person who made significant if well-intentioned mistakes during his tenure as independent counsel. He came to that office with a stellar reputation and a publicly stated opposition to its existence. At the time of his appointment, it was thought that this opposition would lead Starr to a limited view of his role. Instead, ever the good soldier, he set aside his personal opposition to the law and moved forward aggressively. Wittes views this willingness to broadly interpret the role of the independent counsel as an inexcusable error that laid the groundwork for Starr’s later excesses, most important among these the mistaken understanding of his office as an American truth commission. Starr’s predecessors, Wittes claims, correctly understood that the unique power of their position required that they either bring charges or close up shop, whereas Starr felt no such pressure. As a result, he kept cases open longer than a prosecutor solely concerned with charging lawbreakers would have. In the investigations of the Vincent Foster suicide, the White House Travel Office firings, and the Whitewater case, exhaustive inquiries resulted in precious few arrests. Of course, Starr hit the jackpot with Monica Lewinsky, but this too, Wittes suggests, was mishandled. By focusing on the lurid details, he missed an opportunity to move forward at a time when he might have ended Clinton’s presidency. The author presents his case with admirable skill, but one cannot help but wonder if people will want to read about a man who exhausted their patience.

Great for anyone still interested.

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-300-09252-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2002

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NUTCRACKER

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

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IN MY PLACE

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

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