Since the Yom Kippur War, the overwhelming amount of diplomatic “action” surrounding Israel has involved the US. But during the first half (1941—73) of the Jewish state’s existence, the European powers were crucial to its economic and military survival, as related here. Veteran scholar Sachar (Modern History/George Washington Univ.; Farewell Espa§a: The World of the Sephardim Remembered, 1994, etc.) rightly focuses almost exclusively on the four postwar European powers: Britain, France, West Germany, and the former USSR. Thus, for example, the Wiedergutmachung agreement (on reparations for the Holocaust), negotiated in 1952 between David Ben-Gurion and Konrad Adenauer, and bitterly opposed by Menachem Begin, was absolutely essential to the fledging state’s ability to absorb hundreds of thousands of new immigrants, develop new industry, and help tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors bear difficult economic conditions. Significant military aid from Bonn was forthcoming from the Adenauer era through that of Heinrich Kohl. In the mid-’50s, Paris helped Jerusalem to develop its air force and provided men and materials to build the country’s nuclear reactor in Dimona. Although he emphasizes diplomatic relations, including recently abortive European attempts to play a mediating role between Israel and the Palestinians, Sachar also probes the sharp upsurge in economic trade between Israel and the European Community, which has grown more than tenfold over the past 25 years. Unfortunately, too little here details the attitudes of major European intellectuals and religious leaders toward the Jewish state. In addition, Sachar’s pronounced “dovish” and anticlerical sentiments occasionally intrude, as when he asks: “Would the Israeli people survive a third generation only by maintaining a state of siege, retreating between a wall of parochialist suspicion and fundamentalist exclusivity?” However, these flaws pale in comparison to Sachar’s achievement: A solid, even pathbreaking book that covers a great deal of ground while remaining accessible to the general reader.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-679-45434-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1998

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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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