A collection of recent articles concerning topical economic issues and a life as a public economist that is sometimes informative, occasionally humorous, and never profound. Stein, a senior fellow of the American Enterprise Institute and usually identified as a conservative, feels an ``inability to swallow whole the doctrine of any party or sect,'' and demonstrates in lucid and engaging prose ``the rationality of the commitment to being uncommitted.'' Surveying the changes in US capitalism since the Great Depression, he concludes that the free market's survival and triumph over communism is rooted in its ability to adapt continually to changing circumstances. Stein admires Roosevelt for his direct approach to problems and disregard of political orthodoxies. President Nixon (Stein was on the Council of Economic Advisors from 1969 to 1974) is depicted as having been politically flexible, with a greater commitment to socially progressive policies than is widely recognized. Stein criticizes much current economic debate as politically charged and short on facts. Despite varied chapters ranging from light journalism and satire to more serious essays for professional publications, many for The American Enterprise, a uniform series of concerns emerges: inflation, the structural deficit, the urban underclass, and the distribution of income. The politically agnostic Stein, it turns out, does have some prescriptions, though some remain vague: Strive toward a balanced federal budget by cutting entitlements and raising taxes, invest in the urban underclass, and if economists are to participate in formulating effective options, they should study the effect public policy has on character and values. But Stein's analyses lack depth and context; he fails, for instance, to consider the impact of the world economy on America's economic growth and decline. Stein's avoidance of political orthodoxy is refreshing and his writing illuminating on economic policies. However, a generally superficial treatment of economics often undercuts his analyses and conclusions.

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 1995

ISBN: 0-8447-3876-X

Page Count: 275

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1994

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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

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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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