As a scout for the Baltimore Orioles (originally the St. Louis Browns) from 1952-87, Russo participated in one of baseball's most prestigious and successful franchises. Here, in a loosely structured series of anecdotes, he offers an enjoyable look at those years. Hired in 1952 as a ``commission scout'' for the floundering Browns (paid $100 for each step a player made up the baseball ladder, a scout earned $1,000 if his discovery made the major leagues), Russo had the task of signing quality players for little or no bonus money and not much more than promises. By 1958, he was in charge of 26 states and 14 scouts. The club was in Baltimore by then, and their perennial goal was to knock off the hated New York Yankees. The Orioles finally did that in 1966 and, as Russo proudly points out, with the exceptions of Frank Robinson and Luis Aparicio, they beat the Yanks with home-grown talent. Over the next 20 years, there would be more division and league championships and a few World Series rings. Russo recounts that period with fond, sharp remembrance, profiling the players, managers, and owners he worked with: Earl Weaver, the Robinsons Frank and Brooks, Bill Veeck, Boog Powell, Jim Palmer, and numerous others. Of particular interest are his behind-the-scenes accounts of the scouting and signing of players like Palmer, Dave McNally, Wally Bunker, Davey Johnson, and others. As a judge of talent, a front office confidant, and a pioneer in scouting the other league prior to a World Series, Russo ``saw them all'' and does not hesitate to offer his frank evaluations. Despite a lack of personal data and a confusing chronological sequence: a dandy, feisty take on the grand old game.

Pub Date: April 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-929387-69-4

Page Count: 230

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1992

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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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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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