THE BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 1998

August writers and intimations of mortality mark this year’s fine collection in this annual series. In her introduction, novelist and master essayist Ozick (Fame and Folly, 1996, The Puttermesser Papers; 1997; etc.) writes with characteristic firmness of the “living voice” of the essay. Maybe it’s due to the coming of the end of the century, to the ages of these writers, or to Ms. Ozick’s own personal outlook, but the voices bending our ears this year are often settled yet still in awe of humanity. Ian Frazier finds Queens, New York, a kaleidoscope of hopes; Brian Doyle is moved by the force of the Catholic Church; Sven Birkerts explores the “transformative” power of the act of reading, and more. Nearly without exception, the writing in the essays is so good that if you love the genre, you almost have to sit before the words and be happy. The rub? As in some previous years, it’s the presence of many more Sure-to-Please Masters than Newer Writers Deserving Attention, as well as the high representation of Well-known magazines in the volume. Though who can truly quibble with a lineup that includes Coetzee, Kincaid, and McPhee, and that culls from the New Yorker and other estimable venues? It’s just that while essay fans read such collections to revisit old friends, most of us also hope to find stunning work from little-known writers and magazines. For instance, it’s pleasing to be introduced to Anwar F. Accawi, who details with finality the wreck of his Lebanese village by modernity in “The Telephone,” and to get a smattering from less-mined journals like Alaska Quarterly Review. Someday, please, more of the new and less of the old. For an angrier, more confessional, or more reportorial mix, we—ve been put on hold.

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 1998

ISBN: 0-395-86051-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1998

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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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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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