A moderate, judicious, and ultimately bland look at identity politics. Minow (Law/Harvard) sees the issue of human identity in a pluralistic society as a series of paradoxes. Consider: The struggle to be an individual is apparently universal; it is impossible to have an individual identity in isolation from others; maintaining a tolerant political system requires some intolerance of the intolerant; and the central paradox animating her thoughts on identity, the ``possibility of forging commitment to others without relinquishing commitment to oneself.'' She examines the general nature of identity and membership in a group, the role of law in reinforcing group identities, the dilemma of redressing wrongs against groups without sacrificing the individual, the special problems of who should control school curricula and the place of education in establishing identities, and the supposed dangers of political fragmentation along identity lines. The effort throughout to couch the discussion in terms of paradoxes is intriguing and especially illuminating in regard to the legal system (for instance, she notes that even the need to enforce equal opportunity laws requires that people be viewed as members of particular groups), but the indeterminacy is frustrating. True to form, Minow's closing suggestions for moving society in a positive direction are ``linked, but contrasting responses.'' Each embraces a ``but also'' that transforms the analytical paradoxes into paradoxical recommendations for action, e.g., permit parents to select schools ``and thus student peers'' for their children, but also ``subject those choices to constraints and incentives to promote exposure to diverse others, not selected by the parents.'' Although Minow believes that embracing the paradoxes of human identity will minimize fruitless exchanges between antagonists committed to opposing ideals, there is reason to wonder whether the potential for conflict has really been altered. A fine mind is at work here, but splitting hairs may not suffice in resolving these issues.

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 1997

ISBN: 1-56584-374-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1997

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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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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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