A flawed fulmination that reports only virtue on one side and all guilt on the other.

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SHATTERED HOPES

OBAMA'S FAILURE TO BROKER ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PEACE

An official of a pro-Palestinian lobbying group finds the administration of President Barack Obama to be, like all administrations of the past 65 years, egregiously unfair to Palestinian interests.

Ruebner, advocacy director of a group called the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, presents an extensive litany of complaints against the Jewish state and its American ally, fully garnished with sententious terminology like “genocide,” “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing.” Certainly, in the fractious history of the Middle East, fault may be assigned to both Israel and the various factions representing the Palestinian people. The cause of secure peace surely cannot be served by jeremiads like this, sincere and earnest as they might be, that ignore this certainty. West Bank settlements are a serious concern but so are suicide bombers and rockets deployed by Hamas and Hezbollah, entities sworn to “obliterate” their neighbor. Ruebner finds something nefarious in Israel’s use of the Iron Dome system, designed to intercept missiles launched against civilians. The notorious Goldstone Report on the Gaza conflict was quite critical of Israel, and the author uses 16 pages to analyze the report yet neglects to mention that the author, Goldstone himself, soon disavowed his own findings, confessing that his commission did not possess all the facts. Similarly, readers of this narrative of Palestinian victimhood will not find the whole story. If the peace process is to survive, it must overcome unremitting bias. Constant threats to destroy the Jewish state won’t relieve the plight of the Palestinian population longing for nationhood and neither will unadulterated propaganda. Beyond the reduction or elimination of American support for its ally, Ruebner offers no solutions for peace in the region.

A flawed fulmination that reports only virtue on one side and all guilt on the other.

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-84467-120-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Verso

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

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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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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