Both sophisticated and rowdy, Mindermann reminds us that the cops and FBI often wore white hats during their darker days in...

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IN PURSUIT

FROM THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO TO WATERGATE

Mindermann’s personal story as a San Francisco police officer who became an FBI special agent in Washington, D.C., during the Nixon administration.

Mindermann worked as an FBI agent on Watergate and witnessed the shadowy intrigue that episode trailed in its wake, including the FBI occupation of the White House—Secret Service turf—and the “swirling, ethically confusing” dance of Washington’s subculture of undercover operations. By the end of this particular tale—with its on-the-spot anecdotes, finding and following the money trail, and profiles of major characters, including acting Director L. Patrick Gray and Mark Felt (Mr. Deep Throat)—few will contest Mindermann’s suggestion that “Watergate was an FBI story,” with all due respect to theWashington Post. Following Mindermann, as he details the tarp thrown over the break-in, for all its holes and gaps, highlights the collective smarts of the agency. The action switches to Mindermann’s years growing up in San Francisco, nicely documenting why he is one tough character, and joining the San Francisco Police Department, with a fine array of fleet stories involving bar fights, police corruption, drunks and druggies, and a terrifying story of a near lynching: “That evening I’d come face-to-face with the potential for human barbarity.” Mindermann has a taste for Sergeant Friday stylization—“I targeted the most hardened, felony prone hoodlums, whose rap sheets vividly revealed a criminal panorama,” “a foreboding chill swept over me”—but it works well here, for Mindermann spent most of his life in the company of murderous bottom feeders, and the chronicles of their takedowns benefit from his Technicolor delivery. After joining the FBI, the author was not only involved with plenty of high-profile operations, such as the John DeLorean sting, but he notes that he was a pioneer on the poison of stress in police work and helped developed criminal profiling (as a refined police tool rather than excuse for bigotry).

Both sophisticated and rowdy, Mindermann reminds us that the cops and FBI often wore white hats during their darker days in the 1960s and ’70s.

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-0615941486

Page Count: 234

Publisher: Ames Alley Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2014

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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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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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