Detailed but not dense: a sturdy addition to the literature of social justice and contemporary women’s issues.

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CLASS ACTION

THE STORY OF LOIS JENSON AND THE LANDMARK CASE THAT CHANGED SEXUAL HARASSMENT LAW

A complex account of justice sought—and won—in a case that stretched out over a quarter-century.

Lois Jenson, the unlikely heroine of this tale by journalist Bingham (Women on the Hill, 1997) and attorney Gansler, had it tough back in 1974. A single mother of two children born out of wedlock, she lived on welfare, food stamps, and low-paying jobs, barely making ends meet in the far north of Minnesota. When the federal departments of justice and labor required nearby mills and mines to increase their numbers of female and minority employees, she found work, hard and dirty but well paid, at a taconite plant. She was one of the few women outside the front office, and when some of her fellow male coworkers greeted her with lewd remarks and suggestions, it was no surprise; the Mesabi Range’s rough, male-dominated society was still “at its core a frontier culture.” As another female employee said, local women “didn’t know enough to know the men’s behavior was offensive or to know it was belittling.” Outsider Jenson did, and she complained. She was ignored by management, harassed even further by some of the men, ostracized by some of the women. A union grievance evolved into a seemingly endless class-action lawsuit. Reconstructing courtroom back-and-forth (a snippet of examination: “When you used the word fuck in the workplace, you didn’t determine in advance whether or not someone’s sensitivities are more acute than yours, did you?”), Bingham and Gansler track the changing fortunes of the suit as it met at first with hostile judges, was heard by a more sympathetic appellate court, and eventually provided a precedent by which subsequent harassment cases would be measured.

Detailed but not dense: a sturdy addition to the literature of social justice and contemporary women’s issues.

Pub Date: June 18, 2002

ISBN: 0-385-49612-5

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2002

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

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

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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