WILLIAM HENRY SEWARD

A friendly yet not uncritical biography of the secretary of state in the Lincoln and Andrew Johnson Cabinets. Taylor—who chronicled his father's life in General Maxwell Taylor (1987)- -offers neither much original scholarship nor a fresh approach, but writes smoothly and with balance. Why did Seward, front-runner for the 1860 GOP presidential nomination, lose his party's nod to the relatively unknown Lincoln, and why has he been so completely eclipsed by him since? Taylor depicts a politico whose manifold talents were often undermined by his own ambiguity (even Seward admitted that he ``found myself an enigma to myself''). Intellectual, shrewd, diligent, convivial, and even charitable toward enemies, Seward was also willing to trim his sails in pursuit of political objectives. Linking up with Albany political boss Thurlow Weed, he worked ably for liberal causes as New York's governor and, later, in the Senate, where he became leader of the antislavery faction. Losing his bid for the Presidency because of his alliance with Weed and his statements about a ``higher law'' and ``irrepressible conflict'' with the South, Seward later undercut his political base still further by meddling with other Cabinet members' business and clashing with Radical Republicans during the Civil War and Reconstruction. Taylor does not fully explain why Seward muted his opposition to slavery during the secession crisis in the hope of reconciling the South, and fails to criticize Seward's mistakes adequately (e.g., saber- rattling gestures toward England and France that Lincoln rightly rejected). Yet Taylor correctly praises him for keeping the South in diplomatic isolation, bucking up the melancholy Lincoln's spirits, and having the vision to push through the initially scorned Alaska purchase (``Seward's Icebox''). An orthodox but sensible treatment of a dedicated politician- statesman who was sometimes too clever and complex for his own good. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs.)

Pub Date: July 31, 1991

ISBN: 0-06-016307-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1991

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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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