Mexican novelist Taibo (Leonard's Bicycle, 1995, etc.) offers his political adventure-story take on Latin America's revered revolutionary, with heavy use of excerpts from Guevara's diaries and interviews with other sources. In the third biography of Guevara this year, Taibo spends little time investigating the revolutionary's personal life, which was detailed by Jon Lee Anderson (p. 343), and is similarly brief with his subject's initial political development and his changing views, which was Jorge Casta§eda's focus (p. 1174). While acknowledging that he was a prolific reader of political tracts, revolutionary poetry, and a wide array of fiction, Taibo notes that when it came to the politics of revolution, ``as far as Cuba was concerned, Che was no more than a country intellectual who had never set foot in a city.'' It is Che the rebel fighter who became an international icon, and it is this aspect of his life that Taibo stresses—one third of the biography is dedicated to his successful year as a soldier and commander in Cuba. While his troops rested between battles, the tireless Che took charge of rebel training camps, gave basic reading lessons, tended to the wounded, and launched the guerrillas' own newspaper and radio station. Once, as Batista's forces were known to be preparing an offensive, Guevara took time out to prepare a splint for a wounded bird. In addition to his individual military victories, Taibo notes that the revolution's success was also due to Guevara's ability to step up the pace of assaults in late 1958 to take advantage of the crumbling dictatorship. After five frustrating years filling various roles in the new Cuban government, Guevara departed in semi-exile to do what he did best—but his expeditions in the Congo and Bolivia ended in failure and eventually in his execution. A sentimental tale of revolutionary exploits, in which Che's own voice is clearly heard.

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 1997

ISBN: 0-312-15539-5

Page Count: 671

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1997

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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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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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