WHO SAYS YOU CAN'T by Beryl & Samuel Epstein
Kirkus Star


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. . . fight City Hall! Seven case studies of individuals or groups bucking not only official bureaucracies but also public lethargy, private interests and professional incompetence prove otherwise--and each one is a prescription for change, not a placebo. The Great Swamp in New Jersey, eyed as a metropolitan jetport site, is saved by a small group of conservationists, birdwatchers turned bird-doggers as they learn the techniques of raising funds; now it is a National Wildlife Refuge. Ralph Nader wins a public apology from the President of General Motors for harassment; meanwhile he's spurred auto safety legislation, started scrutinizing other industries and perhaps most important, conceived of an ACLU counterpart for consumers. The brief biography of Nader is a demonstration of what makes a crusader click, and so is the chapter on Daniel Fader. Prototype of the local editor vs. the entrenched politicos is Gene Wirges in Conway County, Arkansas, who continues to earn his 1963 Elijah Lovejoy Award by sticking it out in a precarious situation. Also included are Dr. Frances Kelsey, whose insistence on proof kept thalidomide from being precipitously licensed, and Dr. Helen B. Taussig, who publicized its danger and caused supplies to be destroyed; Joseph Papp, the people's impresario; Reverend Leon Sullivan, originator of Philadelphia's innovative job training program with its provision for fundamental education. Each account is thorough, direct and highly informative; the assumption is that to do good you have to know what you're doing, whether it be Dr. Kelsey drawing on previous fetus study or the ladies in New Jersey learning to write a news release. A booster rocket for any age.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1969
Publisher: Coward-McCann