A timely book by National Book Award-winner and former New York Times correspondent Emerson about a year she recently spent in the Gaza strip talking to a range of Palestinians, all affected to some degree by the intifada. In a preface, Emerson (Winners and Losers, 1978; Some American Men, 1985) notes that she is writing ``not in the hope of denigrating the Jewish state, only to illuminate, as so many other have done, why there is a revolution that will persist for years until the Palestinians have their nation.'' Accordingly, basing herself at the Marna House, a comfortable refuge for visiting foreigners, she talks to as many Palestinians as she can, an often dangerous business, for there are curfews, informers, and police surveillance to contend with. Emerson, surprised by the beauty of the area, also comes to understand the great love the Palestinians feel for the land itself, a love that impels so many of them to resist the Israelis and support the P.L.O. She talks to a doctor fired from a hospital merely because he was a member of the P.L.O.; a lawyer tortured and imprisoned four times in five years because of the legal aid he gave during the intifada; the parents of young children imprisoned because they three stones at Israeli soldiers; and ordinary men and women, fishermen and housewives, caught up in the uprising and summarily punished by Israeli authorities. She also meets the remarkable Yusra Barbari, who not only founded The Palestinian Women's Union, which helps working women and housewives, but fearlessly speaks out in military courts, in interviews, and at public meetings. An epilogue notes, without future speculation, the current Palestinian-Iraqi alliance. Emerson is too much the reporter to offer solutions or historical analyses, but her clear, humanistic accounting is sure to raise eyebrows and controversy.

Pub Date: May 2, 1991

ISBN: 0-87113-445-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1991

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet