Freelance journalist Shear arrestingly reconstructs a notably bad bargain the US struck with Japan during a period when, despite an immense trade deficit, Washington was willing to pay almost any price to keep the island nation on its side in the Cold War. Drawing on interviews with key players, a wealth of government documents, and contemporary news reports, Shear offers a tellingly detailed, chronological account of how Japan, after almost a decade of effort dating back to the early 1980s, largely got its way on the co-development of the FS-X, an experimental support fighter plane, for the country's militia-like defense forces. The resultant program, the author argues, could give Japan the advanced technology and know-how it needs to become a world-class competitor in aerospace/avionics markets long dominated by American suppliers like Boeing, General Dynamics, and McDonnell Douglas. While his worst-case scenario—that Japan will snatch a sizeable chunk of this crucial export business—remains to be proved, Shear does a fine job of explaining how the steely resolve of career bureaucrats and intra-agency conflicts can influence, even shape or deform, the policy judgments of elected legislators. He also contrasts the patient, end-in-view nationalism of Dai Nihon's single-minded mandarins with the tactical frenzies of US pols who, though not unmindful of economic consequences, tend to favor expedient solutions to epidemic problems. Covered as well are the commercial implications for American industry, whose decisive edge in state- of-the-art software may have been squandered in the cause of a patron/protÇgÇ alliance whose rationale has long since been overtaken by events. A cautionary tale that goes a long way toward clarifying why ``East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.'' (Author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-385-47353-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 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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