This thoughtful, accessible survey of Second Amendment law will be useful to anyone arguing either side of this endlessly...



A review of the evolving meaning of the Second Amendment, a single sentence fraught with emotional controversy.

Interpretation of the Second Amendment has always been clouded by its prefatory clause, "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state...." Attorney Waldman (Brennan Center for Justice/NYU Law; Return to Common Sense: Seven Bold Ways to Revitalize Democracy, 2008, etc.) draws on extensive historical research to argue that the amendment's purpose was to ensure that the new federal government could not interfere with the states’ rights to maintain local militias as a counterweight to a national standing army; it was never intended to recognize the right of an individual to own a firearm. This was the prevailing consensus among legal scholars through the 20th century. Beginning around 1975, however, the National Rifle Association, Republican politicians and an increasing number of legal commentators pressed for a re-evaluation, culminating in 2008 when the Supreme Court held that the amendment did imply such a right in District of Columbia v. Heller, an opinion the author excoriates, along with the entire concept of "originalist" constitutional interpretation. Up to this point, the author's "biography" of the amendment is sober and sound, but it then descends into all-too-familiar partisan lamentations about the difficulties of imposing further gun controls in the post-Heller era, in spite of his recognition that gun ownership and violence have been declining for decades and that almost all Heller-based challenges to existing gun control statutes have failed. In an era in which militias have long passed into history, Waldman seems to reluctantly accept that the Second Amendment now reflects the fact that "the widespread acceptance of some form of gun ownership is part of the way Americans think.” He calls on activists to change that perception in order to change the law.

This thoughtful, accessible survey of Second Amendment law will be useful to anyone arguing either side of this endlessly controversial issue.

Pub Date: May 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4744-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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


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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Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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