Wholly absorbing, intensely illuminating.

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MUCKRAKING!

THE JOURNALISM THAT CHANGED AMERICA

A dazzling collection of some of the most significant examples of US investigative journalism of the past 250 years.

William Serrin (Journalism/NYU; Homestead, 1992) and former editor and reporter Judith Serrin present, with a compelling combination of virtuosic editing and dogged research, a reference of great impact. From Jacob Riis’s late–19th-century story on “How the Other Half Lives” to an eyewitness report of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire to Larry Kramer’s breaking story on AIDS to a transcript of the first TV report on the Ford/Firestone tire debacle, the authors serve up the high points of American reportage. Stories go as far back as a 1765 reaction to the Stamp Act, and are organized by such topics as “The Poor,” “Public Health and Safety,” “Politics,” “Muckraking,” “Sports,” “America at War,” “The Press,” and “Americana,” among others. A few paragraphs of context appear at the beginning and end of each piece: a 1952 Reader’s Digest article, “Cancer by the Carton,” for example, comes with the information that the publication took no advertising at the time and therefore was “immune to the considerable pressures of tobacco company advertisements, and became the only mainstream periodical to crusade against smoking.” Not every story bears the same moral weight: Tom Wolfe’s Esquire article on stock-car racing is cited as groundbreaking for its role in creating a new kind of journalism. Nonetheless, almost every piece demands to be read, and many retain their power to shock or stir—although in many cases the stories themselves and the issues raised are well-known, as are the decades, even centuries, of consequences that followed.

Wholly absorbing, intensely illuminating.

Pub Date: June 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-56584-681-8

Page Count: 432

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2002

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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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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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