An insightful, at times amusing walk through America’s collective psyche and history by one of this century’s most popular newspaper columnists. For nearly 35 years, Royko (Like I Was Sayin’ . . ., 1984, etc.) entertained newspaper readers and alternately cajoled and aggravated bureaucrats. By the time the Chicago-based Pulitzer Prize—winning writer died in 1997, his columns were syndicated in more than 600 papers nationwide, and his “characters” (convenient pals, such as Slats Grobnik, who acted as literary foils) were fixtures in many Americans’ lives. Here his widow and some longtime colleagues have culled 100 of Royko’s best from nearly 8,000 columns. They are remarkable on many levels, not least for his ability to churn out five columns weekly (his only real break came after the death of his first wife). Royko also impresses with the breadth of his work. Sometimes he is the outraged muckraker: “A Faceless Man’s Plea” decries the Veterans Administration for refusing to pay for plastic surgery that would enable a Vietnam veteran to chew food once more. (The VA changed its mind almost within hours of the column appearing in print.) At other times he is the voice of just-plain-folks, questioning exactly why our government is acting in a particular way. Sometimes he’s just funny, as in the columns bemoaning his allegedly ugly feet. A gruff, no-holds-barred writer, Royko spoke for the many who are voiceless. Despite his success and the rise of celebrity journalists, he remained refreshingly unimpressed with himself. “I just hope my next column is readable, doesn’t bore people,— he said in a 1993 interview. —I don’t have any grand scheme.” Yet the continued relevance of these columns reminds us that good journalists can make a difference. A terrific compendium for those who always meant to clip and save Royko’s words but didn’t. (17 photos, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-226-73071-9

Page Count: 295

Publisher: Univ. of Chicago

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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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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