An economic biography for economic theorists, particularly those on the right.

MILTON FRIEDMAN

A BIOGRAPHY

First post-mortem tribute to the most influential champion of the free market since Adam Smith.

Actually, Ebenstein (Economics and Political Theory/Univ. of California, Santa Barbara) refers to his subject throughout in the present tense, apparently not having had the opportunity to update his text since the economist’s death, on Nov. 16, 2006. Born in 1912, Milton Friedman was a puissant teacher and leader of the so-called Chicago School of economic theory. He also splendidly fit the modern job description of a public intellectual. With just a nod to his personal life, this tribute lauds Friedman as philosophical technician and theoretical guru of modern day laissez-faire. Perhaps, posits the author, he is the Karl Marx of libertarianism. Ebenstein quickly covers the economist’s early academic years and break for service as a WWII mathematician, before really getting going with Friedman’s return to the University of Chicago in 1946. He uses examples from scholarly writings to illustrate the economist’s evolution from possible early liberal tendencies to full-blown libertarianism. Readers will find summaries of Friedman’s thoughts on statistics, political economics, price theory and consumption function, savings and investing, supply and demand, permanent and transition income, money and banking. The influential 1963 text A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960 presented a revisionist view of the Great Depression, arguing that the New Deal was “the wrong cure for the wrong disease.” Regarding welfare, Friedman concluded, “government should not provide for the indigent, unemployed, elderly, sick, and disabled.” The free-market hero, with the help of wife Rose, wrote potently. He promoted his ideas in a PBS series. He supplanted John Maynard Keynes in the hearts of many theorists, won a Nobel and influenced generations with his powerful intellect. Ebenstein, clearly persuaded by the libertarian views of his revered subject, finds little fault with his hero in this dry hagiography executed with as much verve as an economist can muster.

An economic biography for economic theorists, particularly those on the right.

Pub Date: March 1, 2007

ISBN: 1-4039-7627-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2007

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A standout immigrant coming-of-age story.

THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US

A MEMOIR

In her first nonfiction book, novelist Grande (Dancing with Butterflies, 2009, etc.) delves into her family’s cycle of separation and reunification.

Raised in poverty so severe that spaghetti reminded her of the tapeworms endemic to children in her Mexican hometown, the author is her family’s only college graduate and writer, whose honors include an American Book Award and International Latino Book Award. Though she was too young to remember her father when he entered the United States illegally seeking money to improve life for his family, she idolized him from afar. However, she also blamed him for taking away her mother after he sent for her when the author was not yet 5 years old. Though she emulated her sister, she ultimately answered to herself, and both siblings constantly sought affirmation of their parents’ love, whether they were present or not. When one caused disappointment, the siblings focused their hopes on the other. These contradictions prove to be the narrator’s hallmarks, as she consistently displays a fierce willingness to ask tough questions, accept startling answers, and candidly render emotional and physical violence. Even as a girl, Grande understood the redemptive power of language to define—in the U.S., her name’s literal translation, “big queen,” led to ridicule from other children—and to complicate. In spelling class, when a teacher used the sentence “my mamá loves me” (mi mamá me ama), Grande decided to “rearrange the words so that they formed a question: ¿Me ama mi mamá? Does my mama love me?”

A standout immigrant coming-of-age story.

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4516-6177-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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