CRISES OF THE REPUBLIC

LYING IN POLITICS; CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE; ON VIOLENCE; THOUGHTS ON POLITICS AND REVOLUTION

First published as a separate book in 1969, "On Violence" has become influential with its emphasis on the inverse relation between power and violence. "Lying in Politics," a discussion of the Pentagon Papers, is the most noteworthy among the other essays here (which first appeared in periodicals like the New York Review of Books). Professor Arendt underlines the fact that the Vietnam policy makers had remarkably accurate intelligence reports at their disposal and made remarkably consistent disuse of them; she concludes that "defactualization" could be sustained only because no real goals were sought beyond an "image" of power. This notion that the warmakers' purposes were "almost exclusively psychological" is presented with profuse quotations from Richard Barnet's contribution to Washington Plans An Aggressive War (1971). The anti-war sentiments Arendt expresses here are perfectly compatible with her essential conservatism; indeed, her logic could lead one to insist that policy makers be supremely victory-minded and next time pick a target of greater material importance. She argues that the Pentagon Papers' evidence denies not only a "quagmire" view of Vietnam policies but also says accusations of "imperialism" are now refuted, since they were indifferent to all tangible gains. In "Civil Disobedience" the polemic is more muted: Arendt elaborates the notion that civil disobedients are not merely a cluster of conscience-stricken individuals but "a voluntary association," or an "organized minority" — i.e., a single-issue protest group with constitutional legitimacy. Her treatment of the subject is superior to most. The "Politics and Revolution" interview, dated mid-1970, denies that the student movement is frustrated, advises it not to "destroy the universities," perceptively comments on capitalist "primitive accumulation," and discusses socialism as if it were equivalent to the Eastern bloc regimes. With her air of authority and European worldly wisdom, Arendt often gets away with saws and sophistries; but politically-minded readers will relish the chance to tangle with her intelligence.

Pub Date: May 10, 1972

ISBN: 0156232006

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1972

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

NIGHT

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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ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

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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