HIGHWIRE

FROM THE BACKROADS TO THE BELTWAY--THE EDUCATION OF BILL CLINTON

An assessment of the first year of Bill Clinton's presidency with no major scoops but with long-term insight into Clinton's style and character. Brummett, a veteran Arkansas journalist and columnist for the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, here competes not so much with fellow Arkansas reporter Meredith Oakley (On the Make, p. 614), who exhaustively portrays Clinton's gubernatorial reign, but with ur- investigator Bob Woodward (The Agenda, not reviewed). Though he can't claim Woodward's access or propound verbatim conversations, Brummett did move to Washington and spoke to Clinton, former chief of staff Mack McLarty, and other White House officials. ``Bill Clinton is a man of awesome talent and troubling personal weaknesses,'' Brummett declares at the outset, and his account of Clinton's major efforts and crises bears that out. He grounds Clinton's cautious liberalism and winning personal style in home- state politics and shows how Clinton thrives extemporaneously and dies by TelePrompTer. America needed either ``a great moral leader or a clever policy synthesizer,'' the author argues, and Clinton is the latter, as shown in his budget plan. Brummett's treatments of missteps like the Waco disaster and the White House travel-office scandal add little new. He finds himself sympathetic to Clinton— ``a victim of his own optimism''—regarding his withdrawal of the Lani Guinier nomination. Brummett is more pointed on the suicide of White House chief deputy counsel Vincent Foster: He discounts talk of a scandalous cover-up but argues that any veteran of Arkansas politics should have been prepared for Washington nastiness. While his defense of Clinton's foreign policy performance is weak—he blames subordinates—Brummett notes credibly that Whitewater pales in comparison to previous executive-branch violations of the public interest like Iran-contra. Ultimately, Brummett is optimistic that Clinton will grow into the job—or, if defeated in 1996, return ``Ö la Nixon for us to kick around some more.'' Weaker on policy than politics, but with nuance and psychological truth.

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 1994

ISBN: 0-7868-6046-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1994

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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