Passionate and provocative, with or without devilment.




A New Jersey clinical social worker warns against a satanically orchestrated, technology-driven narcissistic evil overtaking an increasingly godless country.

Battenhausen (Defeating Depression: The Calm and Sense Way to Find Happiness and Satisfaction, 2011) defines Socialcide as loving ourselves to death and says that Satan has been on a roll since 1978—“the year the beast and the creator of Socialcide signed his plan to seduce people into killing themselves emotionally, and destroying all that is good and loving in the world.” That was the year, he notes, of the first home video games and cellular mobile phones—the devil’s tools for spreading narcissism. “[P]eople born between 1978 and 2000 are more narcissistic than people born into every other generation in history,” he laments. Common social virtues, basic morality, face-to-face communication and caring about others have been swept aside as the self-absorbed young immerse themselves in cyber realms. The plan is to “[s]top communication and replace it with technology,” Battenhausen says, and to turn people into machines. Some of these terminally narcissistic imps, stripped of humanity, will and have become monsters. He offers as examples young mass murderers—the worst of the worst from Columbine to Sandy Hook—with penchants for creepy websites and violent video games. Others, sinking deeper into narcissistic cocoons, resent that their superiority is not recognized. They are disrespectful to teachers and contemptuous of parents who may themselves be narcissists and uninvolved in their children’s lives. And there is no God anywhere. Even without accepting Battenhausen’s fundamental thesis that Satan is running the show, it’s hard to argue with his powerfully presented case that too many children are growing up in horribly dysfunctional ways. This eminently readable but overlong book could be cut by a hundred pages without damage to the author’s message that belief in God and better parenting are the only salvation. Dogs, as it turns out, loom large in the author’s appraisal of what’s still good in the world. Dog is God spelled backward for a reason, he suggests. And does the slavish adoration we get from these creatures feed our narcissism? Clearly the author, who has four Saint Bernards, doesn’t think so.

Passionate and provocative, with or without devilment.

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1939761279

Page Count: 484

Publisher: Faith Books and More

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



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?

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


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?

No Comments Yet