An outrageous, penetrating, fun collection of articles from three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Ivins. As political columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Ivins is a human oxymoron: a Texas liberal. Her down-home, good-ol—-girl style thinly cloaks a wicked wit wielded in support of strong political beliefs. While Ivins sees the purpose of journalism as being “to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable,” her appeal is nevertheless very broad for a simple reason. Unlike many of her conservative peers, Ivins actually likes people, even the politicians she has made a career of skewering. She genuinely enjoys life in a “nation undeterred by reality” and a political system that “requires a certain relish for confusion.” The refreshing thing about Ivins is that she not only sees the normally harmless lunacy that surrounds her, she appreciates it; rather than clucking about the downfall of social values or despairing over cultural demise, she is ready to grab a beer and watch the real world go by. While this volume is an enjoyable mechanism for obtaining a larger-than-usual dosage of Ivins’s humor, however, the inevitable choppiness of a series of short essays on disparate topics makes for a somewhat disappointing book. Insofar as there is a continuing theme, it’s the corrosive effect of money in politics and the need for campaign finance reform. On this subject she cuts to the bottom line: The millions special interests invest in political campaigns are amply rewarded, and “the rest of us get stuck with that much more of the tab for keeping the country running. . . . “ For Ivins it is time to recognize the necessity of publicly financed elections if we want politicians dancing with the public rather than special interests. Entertaining, regardless of your politics. (Author tour)

Pub Date: March 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-679-40446-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1998

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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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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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