W.E.B. DU BOIS

BIOGRAPHY OF A RACE: VOL. I, 1868-1919

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868-1963) has finally found a Boswell worthy of his achievements as an African-American reformer who fought for human rights in the US and the wider world. In the first part of a projected two-volume biography, Rutgers history professor Lewis (The Race to Fashoda, 1988, etc.) offers a detailed chronicle that puts the eventful origins of a towering figure clearly in the perspective of his troubled times. Born in western Massachusetts less than three years after the abolition of slavery, Du Bois managed to earn a doctorate in history from Harvard. After graduating, he pursued one of the few careers open to educated blacks, that of teaching—at Atlanta University and other institutions. Meanwhile, he published pioneering sociological studies (The Philadelphia Negro, etc.), arranged symposiums, and helped found the Niagara Movement—an all- black group that in 1909 joined forces with liberal whites to form the NAACP. Du Bois left academe to become the NAACP's director of research and publicity as well as editor of its influential magazine, The Crisis. From this bully pulpit, he battled for racial justice; conducted intellectual inquiries (among other matters, on the talented-tenth theory); critiqued the views of rivals like Booker T. Washington (``the great accommodator''); and otherwise played to the hilt the role of outside agitator (he was active in the Pan-African cause as well). Here, he's last seen after a post- WW I congress that called for direct League of Nations supervision of German colonies in Africa, as he himself returns to a society that brutally and methodically excluded ``his people from meaningful citizenship....'' A masterly appreciation of a great man's intellectual development and singular service in a righteous crusade. (Thirty- two pages of photographs—not seen)

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 1993

ISBN: 0-8050-2621-5

Page Count: 700

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1993

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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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