Come now two professors, economics and law, to join the ranks of self-styled experts on the drug scourge in America. Benjamin (former chief of staff, US Dept. of Labor; professor of economics, Clemson Univ.) and Miller (research professor, Clemson Univ.; professor of law, Univ. of Miami) after kicking off their book with familiar rehearsals of the historic use of drugs in America, the failed Nixon and Reagan wars on drugs, Jamaican posses and crack turf wars, come to their solution: the ``Constitutional Alternative.'' This proposed constitutional amendment would remove all federal regulations on narcotics with regard to legalization or restriction and give this power to the individual states: some may opt for getting tough and others for legalization. This would not only offer ``...freedom from the tyranny of the majority'' but also give ``...Americans the opportunity to choose drug policies that conform more closely to their disparate preferences and circumstances.'' Finally, ``the Constitutional Alternative recognizes and takes advantage of the simple, inescapable fact that no government is perfect, nor immune to ignorance or error.'' Would drug use skyrocket? ``There would be a small rise....'' Suppose a state legalizes drugs and addicts flood in. Would there be a surge in crime, drive-by shootings, and gang warfare? ``The answer, unequivocally, is no.'' For the two most dangerous drugs in America—alcohol and tobacco (539,000 deaths in 1989)—the authors acknowledge that these substances are under the jurisdiction of the states and therefore the ``Constitutional Alternative'' is already in place. What they omit is that, for all narcotics—under federal regulation since 1914—combined deaths in the same period were 7,100. For doubters, Benjamin and Miller trot out the Founding Fathers a dozen times and rouse the cry ``The time is now. We can undo drugs and retake America.'' Perfectly reasoned: sophistry and paste.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 1991

ISBN: 0-465-08853-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1991

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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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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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