A SEASON FOR JUSTICE

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF CIVIL RIGHTS LAWYER MORRIS DEES

Dees, civil-rights lawyer and co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, offers an eloquent memoir of his battles with the Ku Klux Klan and other right-wing hate organizations. Dees's autobiography, written with fellow attorney Fiffer, epitomizes the paradox of the New South. A white Southern Baptist who attended the Univ. of Alabama in the 1950's, and who made a fortune in the mail-order business, Dees appeared an unlikely candidate to become a crusading civil-rights lawyer. But the atrocities of his white neighbors against blacks involved in the civil-rights movement aroused in Dees a deep protest. Although his successful business freed him from the necessity of making a living as a lawyer, he co-founded the Southern Poverty Law Center and started to bring civil-rights cases against the newly resurgent Ku Klux Klan. Dees describes in gripping detail his fight to protect Vietnamese victims of the Klan in Texas, and his ultimately victorious struggle to expose and punish the murderous activities of the United Klans of America. His description of the Klan and affiliated fascist groups like the American Nazi Party and the Order is truly frightening (more than once, these groups menaced Dees himself). Moreover, his narrative of his ultimate success is an inspiring example of the manner in which the American legal system, imperfect though it is, can solve social problems. A moving, powerful account of one man's struggle against injustice.

Pub Date: June 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-684-19189-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1991

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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