Stinging often lyrical, Kalb excoriates those who have diminished the profession he loves.

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ONE SCANDALOUS STORY

CLINTON, LEWINSKY, AND THIRTEEN DAYS THAT TARNISHED AMERICAN JOURNALISM

A veteran journalist examines the behavior of the press during the initial days of the Lewinsky scandal—and finds much to condemn.

Kalb (Washington Exec. Dir./Harvard’s Shorenstein Center; The Nixon Memo, 1994) has the credentials to command attention: 30 years as a respected TV newsman and now a worried citizen who holds to the fire the feet of his former colleagues. Accompanying this latest work is the powerful smell of much roasted flesh. Kalb begins with a confession: he once saw the Secret Service whisking a beautiful young woman up to the president’s suite in a New York hotel. Of course, it was 1963, and the president was JFK. Kalb says it never crossed his mind to report the incident. Much, he notes, has changed. After exploring the genesis of the scandal (Whitewater), he zeroes in on 13 days: Jan. 13–25, 1998. He tells what stories the major newspapers ran; he summarizes the news hours and talk shows. And, one by one, he drags the principals under the unforgiving lens of his moral microscope: Michael Isikoff, Matt Drudge (for whom Kalb expresses much disdain), Rush Limbaugh, Lucianne Goldberg (the Clinton-hater who “danced a jig of joy in her New York apartment” when the story broke), Linda Tripp, the Starr prosecutors (some of whom were leaking like ill-tied water balloons), William Ginsburg, and even media notables like Tim Russert and Ted Koppel (whose Nightline was the first to discuss the oral-sex issue). Kalb is not so much interested in what happened as in how it was reported, and he sees disturbing tendencies: going with stories merely because they are “out there”; rushing to judgment; blurring the lines between journalism and politics; and eschewing the two-source tradition. His conclusion about the scandal: “It stained the presidency, tarnished the reputation of the press, and cast a long shadow over the entire country.”

Stinging often lyrical, Kalb excoriates those who have diminished the profession he loves.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-684-85939-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2001

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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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