A book worthy of a wide audience and wide discussion.



A vision of enhancing racial equality—or simply lessening racial inequality—in America.

By African-American legal scholar Higginbotham’s account, it wasn’t until he entered a well-heeled private school that he encountered the N-word thrown his way. When it was, a white coach cracked down hard, issuing “a zero tolerance policy for racial epithets.” No more such epithets were forthcoming, though not necessarily out of any inborn kindness on the part of the man who cast that first stone. The takeaway for Higginbotham: Civil rights movements on the part of the oppressed are well and good, but “whites needed to stand up against racism in order for it to cease.” Things are better in some respects than in the 1960s, but, writes the author, the formula has changed. Blacks—and, to a greater or lesser extent, other nonwhite ethnic groups—are no longer judged and discriminated against strictly on the basis of race, but also on factors of class, education, income and access to political power, among others. For example, regarding sports: “Recruited black players could play in games, but ‘walk-on’ black players could not.” Against such broadband exclusion, Higginbotham mounts a spirited defense of affirmative action policies that is backed by good case law and by common sense—or at least a sense of fair play, for, as he notes, few complain about legacy students getting into a particular college, but people certainly do complain when the numbers of black—or Asian or Hispanic—students go up, particularly if there is a perception that they are somehow undeserving. America may be trending toward justice, but that trend is slow. Otherwise, Higginbotham asks elsewhere in this searching argument, why is there a disproportionate number of homeless blacks?

A book worthy of a wide audience and wide discussion.

Pub Date: March 18, 2013

ISBN: 978-0814737477

Page Count: 352

Publisher: New York Univ.

Review Posted Online: Jan. 6, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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