WOMEN ON THE HILL

CHALLENGING THE CULTURE OF CONGRESS

A workmanlike account of the 103rd Congress, elected in 1992, the Year of the Woman, focusing on four Democratic women: newcomers Senator Patty Murray and Representatives Cynthia McKinney and Louise Slaughter, as well as veteran representative Pat Schroeder. Through these four women, former Newsweek White House correspondent Bingham offers a recap of congressional activities in the pivotal years of 1992 to 1994, especially those of freshwomen brought to power after the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings. Although optimism was high at the beginning of the 103rd session, these women faced enormous obstacles in the long-held prejudices of the white-male-dominated power hierarchy. They were ignored, denigrated, and ogled. They were successful in some of their more important initiatives, such as passing the Family and Medical Leave Act, but not in others. Ultimately, the most significant contribution the 103rd Congress made to the political life of this country was in paving the way for a more equitable distribution of power between the sexes. Bingham offers a little background to the limited role of women in Congress over most of the past 100 years. However, many of the more recent events she relates are still fresh in the reader's mind, and she doesn't always add to what newspaper and magazine accounts have already reported. More serious is the fact that at least some of her interviews were confidential. With no attributions, it is difficult to judge, for example, her account of Murray's breast being groped in an elevator by nonagenarian fellow senator Strom Thurmond or her portrayal of Schroeder jealously guarding her hard-won power against the newcomers. An interesting, occasionally gossipy look behind Congress's closed doors, but hardly authoritative. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-8129-6351-2

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Times/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1996

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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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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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