A parting shot? Just as with rock bands that seem to have done more farewell tours than pre-farewell performances, there’s...

AND YET...

ESSAYS

Hitherto uncollected journalistic pieces, much along the lines of Arguably (2011), in which the late, great, much-missed Hitchens (Mortality, 2012, etc.) takes stock of the world.

Hitchens was famously a man of the left who, all the same, found reasons to support going to war in Iraq, a libertarian who nonetheless saw the uses of government, and an atheist who’d read the Bible more than most Sunday school teachers—and a contrarian through and through. “These things,” as he remarks of another matter entirely, “are worth knowing.” They are also things that introduce inconsistencies and contradictions into the conversation. Hitchens could be a fierce critic of the American theocracy that the majority seems to prefer and yet celebrate the splendid secular holiday that is Thanksgiving, despite its central feature: “that one forces down, at an odd hour of the afternoon, the sort of food that even the least discriminating diner in a restaurant would never order by choice.” In the same vein, speaking of a different Turkey, one of the most thoughtful essays in this casual gathering takes on the widely admired novelist Orhan Pamuk for not being sufficiently stalwart in his defense of the secular Turkish state against the Islamists who would ban literature immediately on gaining power. There are a few old tropes here but with new twists: predictably, there’s a piece on Hitchens’ hero George Orwell but with a defense for his having named the names of presumed enemies of the state, an act worthy (or unworthy) of Winston Smith. Whip-smart, Hitchens is at his best when skewering the political class, though with the understanding that what we have now is likely to be a sight better than what’s to come: “How low can it go? Much lower, just you wait and see.”

A parting shot? Just as with rock bands that seem to have done more farewell tours than pre-farewell performances, there’s probably more in the vault—but in this case, that’s a very good thing indeed.

Pub Date: Nov. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4767-7206-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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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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