VERDICTS ON LAWYERS

The Nader imprimatur is a sure sign of a necessary muckrake, with the accent on public responsibility, and in the aftermath of Watergate, disillusionment with these knaves who have a license to steal—the members of the legal profession—is at an all time high. As co-editor Mark Green, who blew the whistle on The Unseen Power of the Washington Lawyers recently, points out in one of the pieces collected here, the last decade has seen an explosion in the earnings of lawyers, pricing them out of the reach of middle-class as well as poor litigants and reinforcing their venal corporate ties. Only lawyers could document the tales of self-dealing, collusion and misplaced loyalties compiled here—yet apparently few of them have any regard for their Canon of Ethics or a sense of themselves as anything more than guns-for-hire, client instruments. Green et al. attack the ABA in several essays, citing chapter and verse of their shady judgments. There are several strong pieces on access to power through poverty lawyers, the public interest bar and class action suits, a scrutiny of the accountability of both corporate and government attorneys and some finger-pointing at judges of varying degrees of competence and honesty. Reform is the keynote, of course, with a little rhetoric and much solid research. Contributors include Martin Garbus, Rep. John Conyers, Beverly Moore, Fred Harris, Joseph Califano, Ramsey Clark, Victor Rabinowitz, Jack Newfield and John Tunney. A book to make you angry and also reassure you with its advocacy.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0690016670

Page Count: 376

Publisher: T.Y. Crowell

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1975

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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

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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

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