A first-person account that delivers a persuasive diagnosis of the Baltimore unrest.

READ REVIEW

Uprising in the City

MADE IN AMERICA

Shird (Lessons of Redemption, 2016) documents the 2015 Baltimore riots in this work of nonfiction.

Following the death of Freddie Gray after his arrest by police in April 2015, Baltimore became the setting of protests, civil unrest, and violence. Shird leads the reader through a detailed account of the events, from the inciting case of Gray to the emergency’s aftermath. An eyewitness to the action, the author recalls the ways in which the African-American citizens of Baltimore—from lawyers to drug dealers to members of the Black Lives Matter movement—took to the streets to articulate their frustration over Gray’s fatal spinal cord injury while in police custody. In addition to the protests, violence and looting broke out around the city, ultimately leading to the declaration of a state of emergency and the arrival of the National Guard. Famous footage of a burning CVS on Pennsylvania and North Avenue played in a loop on news stations. “Many viewers couldn’t believe their eyes, as a US city came under siege on live television,” Shird writes of the riots. “It was the best reality show around, and yes, it was real.” In addition to analyzing the events of that spring, the author provides suggestions for how similar tragedies might be prevented, including addressing the poverty of cities like Baltimore, delivering alternative policing strategies, and demanding less sensational media coverage. Shird is an adept chronicler, writing in a conversational prose that nevertheless manages to capture the surrealism of many of the book’s images. As a first-person account of the protests, his book proves invaluable: his knowledge of his native Baltimore and the racial tensions that characterize it lend the narrative a depth absent in mainstream media depictions of the events. Shird’s solutions contain nothing that hasn’t been offered elsewhere, and many of them are far more easily said than done. Even so, the author convinces the reader that if the underlying causes of the disturbance seen in Baltimore are not tackled, other cities will likely see similar crises playing out on their own streets.

A first-person account that delivers a persuasive diagnosis of the Baltimore unrest.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-68419-504-6

Page Count: 266

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more