Republican Party heavyweight Nofziger's political memoir details Ronald Reagan's rise from perceived joke to popular President, and Nofziger's role in that rise. The most interesting passages here involve Reagan's early days in politics—his transition from former actor and president of the Screen Actors Guild to governor of California. Backed by Republican money-men Holmes Tuttle and Henry Salvatori, Reagan proved almost immediately to have superb political instincts. His reliance on advisers and ``macromanagement'' style, according to Nofziger, were apparent from the first. As governor, he urged aides—caught up in their importance and prone to work late—to go home to their families. Another Reagan phenomenon that surfaced right away was the governor's omnivorous but unselective memory. Nofziger, though a Reagan loyalist to the core, is catty enough to relay that Reagan's drivers and security men, prone to express their political opinions, were ordered to stop lest Reagan repeat their layman's views in an unguarded moment. If Reagan is the book's overarching hero, one of its main villains is James Baker, perceived by Nofziger as an opportunist who muted the projected Reagan revolution and betrayed true believers, a vindictive heretic willing to ``use Reagan for his own ends.'' Nofziger has spent decades around electoral politics and the corridors of power, as a press secretary and as as assistant to the President for political affairs in the Reagan White House—and he is a bit flip about flaws in the system. ``After all,'' he crows, ``anyone can lie to the press, but confusing them with the truth is an art I am proud to have mastered.'' Yet when Nofziger discusses his entanglement in the American justice system—he was cleared of unethical lobbying charges—his bitterness knows no bounds. A partisan, mean-spirited, but sharply observed view of a fascinating political era.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-89526-513-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1992

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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

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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

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