A thoughtful and provocative commentary on the causes, conduct, and consequences of the Gulf War. While characterizing the Desert Storm campaign as a remarkable feat of arms, defense analyst (and Baltimore Sun columnist) Record argues that the mother of all routs failed to yield any significant diplomatic gains. In this cautionary context, he addresses an ad rem assortment of issues, ranging from the possible avoidance of hostilities through the efficacy of sanctions; miscalculations of Iraq's resources as well fighting spirit; the relative contributions of air, ground, and naval power to the outcome; and the lessons to be learned or ignored from the walkover. Given the home-front problems confronting Saddam in the wake of an enervating conflict with Iran, Record believes that a clash was inevitable- -and, in light of political imperatives, he thinks that economic pressures alone would have been insufficient to bring the dictator into line within an acceptable time frame. The author notes that UN/US forces, in addition to operating within a remarkably favorable staging area (Saudi Arabia), were facing an enemy led by a man ``with the prudence of Custer and the strategic grasp of Mussolini.'' Record concludes that the aerial assaults mounted by the UN, though undeniably spectacular and effective, weren't decisive in the conflict, and he's equally dubious as to the post- Vietnam harmony putatively achieved by American military commanders and their civilian masters. At the close, moreover, the author argues that Iraq remains a serious menace in the Middle East, meaning that future historians may regard the 1990-91 belligerency as ``a complete failure.'' Worldly-wise observations, affording valuable perspectives on a famous victory.

Pub Date: April 30, 1993

ISBN: 0-02-881046-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1993

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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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