An unfocused but deeply felt plea for better treatment of veterans.




A Vietnam veteran argues for better health care for veterans and a conservative surge in the 2016 elections.

In this follow-up to Condemned Property? (2013), Trimmer returns to the challenges Vietnam veterans have faced since the 1970s, with particular emphasis on the recent shortcomings of the Veterans Administration. Trimmer draws on his own story—he has clashed with the VA over conditions related to his Vietnam service—and those of other veterans, along with research and news reports, to present a portrait of a system incapable of meeting its users’ needs. The book also includes copies of letters Trimmer sent to government officials, replies he has received from them, and testimonials from readers of Condemned Property? He proposes a number of solutions, including punishment for VA officials, sufficient funding, and supporting Ben Carson’s campaign for the presidency. Although Trimmer gives the president credit for some improvements in the services offered to veterans, his dislike rings clearly, often in strident terms: “If his majesty, Barack Hussein Obama has enough time on his hands”; “If Dr. Ben has decided to enter the brutal presidential election, may God be with this fine gentleman. Too bad he wasn’t out first black President instead of Barack Hussein Obama who is not a great American.” Throughout, Trimmer is explicit about the role he plays—“I am a Christian Crusading Militant who has vowed to remain a soldier for the rest of my life, which means I am prepared to put my life on the line for America...again.” However, the book’s detours into polemic territory are often unfocused and uneven, adding little to the central arguments about the treatment of veterans from Vietnam and more recent wars. Trimmer is at his most successful in moments when his passion and knowledge of the veteran experience combine to make a compelling case for the country’s continuing responsibility to its soldiers.

An unfocused but deeply felt plea for better treatment of veterans.

Pub Date: May 31, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4984-3834-6

Page Count: 340

Publisher: Liberty Hill Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2015

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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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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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