THE LAST STAND

THE WAR BETWEEN WALL STREET AND MAIN STREET OVER CALIFORNIA'S ANCIENT REDWOODS

A mesmerizing, blow-by-blow account of Pacific Lumber's hostile takeover by Charles Hurwitz, and the ecological battles it engendered, from journalist Harris (The League, 1986, etc.). Scotia was a drowsy company town in northern California, the pride of Pacific Lumber and its owners, the Murphy family. The company took care of its own—it educated the kids through college, nursed the sick, provided work and security and entertainment (though the whorehouse did close in the 1920s). It also practiced two unusual lumbering techniques: sustainable yield (cut never to exceed growth) and selective cutting (never cut more, and often less, than 70% of a parcel). There may have been a dark side to company life, though Harris doesn't identify any, and regardless, PL was no chop-and-flee operation; they were in it for the long haul. Enter Hurwitz, corporate raider, buyout artist, general sleazeball. Harris gives a detailed account of the vile doings behind the stock takeover (with such creatures as Ivan Boesky, Michael Milken, and Dennis Levine involved, it had to be ugly); the stunned then angry response of company millhands, fellers, and buckers; and the actions taken by local environmentalists to try to stop Hurwitz once he had jettisoned PL's sustainable yield and selective cut traditions. (Of course, Hurwitz needed to cull all the most ancient groves to pay for the junk bonds. He also grazed lustily on the pension fund.) Harris tells the story with the sly, creeping urgency of a good thriller, shot through with the shame of this willful destruction of a thriving community. And Hurwitz is still at it, somehow avoiding the tube ride that sent Boesky et al. to the slammer, though many of his old-growth cuts are stymied by lawsuits. Arresting, first-rate reportage from the deep woods.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8129-2577-7

Page Count: 388

Publisher: Times/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1995

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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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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

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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