The distinguished former foreign correspondent for CBS and NBC news looks wryly and critically at a 1992 foray into foreign policy by Richard Nixon—and along the way, shows how politicians and press pundits manipulate one another to shape political consensus. Despite Nixon's antagonism to the press, his public life was pervasively shaped by the media, from the 1952 Checkers speech through the Watergate scandal. Nixon had an impact on presidential relations with the media in turn, forging through his wiretaps and enemies lists a hostile relationship between the White House and the press that has lasted until today. Kalb (Press and Public Policy/John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard; In the National Interest, 1977, etc.) points out that Nixon's final attempt to influence public policy was a clever manipulation of the press. On March 10, 1992, he wrote a private memorandum attacking George Bush's policy toward Boris Yeltsin's Russia. Nixon distributed the memorandum to approximately 50 influential Americans hoping, Kalb suggests, that the memo would be leaked to the press. It was, and appeared on the front page of the New York Times, disrupting the foreign policy of the Bush administration and personally embarrassing Bush, then engaged in a campaign for his party's presidential nomination. In exploring why Nixon deliberately tried to undermine a Republican president's foreign policy, Kalb explains how Nixon artfully used the press to effect his political rehabilitation. Journalists, in their quest for a good story, cooperated with Nixon. As Kalb points out, Nixon, a politician whose rise began with his attacks on Democrats for ``losing'' China in the 1950s, ended his career by threatening both Democrats and Republicans with blame for ``losing'' Russia in the 1990s. Kalb presents the story of Nixon's rehabilitation as great and appalling copy, and gives the reader an illuminating peek into some of the darker recesses of the world inside the Beltway.

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 1994

ISBN: 0-226-42299-2

Page Count: 227

Publisher: Univ. of Chicago

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1994

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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.


Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.


Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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