A social history of American criminal justice that offers not abstruse legal analysis or philosophy, but the practical story of ``a working system and what makes it tick.'' Friedman (Law/Stanford) argues that ``judgments about crime, and what to do about it, come out of a specific time and place.'' Thus, he links the criminal-justice systems of different periods of American history to varying characteristics of American society. Colonial courts, for instance, because of their religious orientation, punished not only crimes against persons or property but also acts of private immorality that would no longer be classified as crimes; moreover, these courts relied primarily on public punishments emphasizing shame (such as confinement in the pillory or stocks) rather than on incarceration. Surveying 19th- century criminal justice, Friedman explores the impact of the disenfranchisement of blacks and women; the increasing mobility of society; and the changing role of morality. Similarly, the 20th century has witnessed an enormous increase in the creation of regulatory crimes (particularly in the fields of taxation, securities, and antitrust regulation). Friedman contends that the more permissive, individualistic culture of 20th-century America has qualitatively changed types and motivations of violent crime: In a phenomenon inconceivable in the more disciplined, self- controlled societies of the past two centuries, today's people often commit crimes in order to give themselves a sense of self- worth (``crimes of the self''). After grimly surveying the explosive growth of crime in postwar America, Friedman sadly concludes that, because of rapid changes in society, and despite public obsession with the crime issue, ``we are likely to bump along more or less as we are.'' An absorbing and thoughtful study, scholarly but told in a folksy, unpretentious style.

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 1993

ISBN: 0-465-01461-5

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Basic Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1993



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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