Compelling chronicle of California youth gangs, by Los Angeles Times staffer Sipchen. In 1990, over 600 people were killed in gang-related homicides in L.A. County alone. Here, Sipchen expertly reveals the gang world through the day-to-day life of Kevin Glass (``Baby Insane'') and the work of detective Patrick Birse (``the Buddha''), who persuaded Glass to turn informer. Glass grew up in a San Diego ghetto known as the `` `Hood,'' turf ruled by the all-black gang of the Neighborhood Crips. By age 11, Glass was smoking pot daily with his `` 'cuz's'' and for kicks stealing cars to lead the cops on high-speed chases. At 14, he was sentenced to three years in youth prison for 23 counts of armed robbery. Back in the 'Hood at 17, Glass and the Neighborhood Crips improved their technique. Stoned on PCP, they stole high- speed cars, carried police scanners, and—armed with automatic pistols, assault rifles, and hunting knives—descended on affluent areas of San Diego, robbing at random, sometimes ramming through storefronts for loads of fancy running suits. Glass, by now a crack addict, was nabbed by his parole officer and jailed pending a hearing when Birse sought him out. Besides his Buddha- like belly and mellow disposition, Birse had a singular talent for creating and working informers. With a promise that Glass wouldn't be reimprisoned, he got the young hoodlum to testify against the Neighborhood Crips. Throughout, Sipchen follows in depth the life and fate of every 'cuz in the 'Hood, as well as that of the Buddha, who worked only the most dangerous cases; and he offers such colorful details as the police name for drive-by shootings: ``AVANHI''—``Asshole vs. Asshole, No Human Involved.'' Superbly written and fresh: Along with LÇon Bing's Do or Die (1991), the clearest view to date of the exploding street-gang phenomena.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 1993

ISBN: 0-385-41997-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1992

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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


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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