THE GREAT NATIONAL DIVIDES (IN FULL COLOR)

WHY THE UNITED STATES IS SO DIVIDED AND HOW IT CAN BE PUT BACK TOGETHER AGAIN

A bipartisan and commonsensical study of U.S. disharmony, though somewhat lacking in originality.

A book delivers a synopsis of the cleavages that divide Americans and some potential solutions.

One of the most scrupulously studied of subjects in American political discourse is citizens’ toxic divisiveness, something that could, according to Brakke (American Justice?, 2016), bring about the nation’s demise. He provides a taxonomy of the various species of disunity that plague the United States, including more obvious ones like racial and economic division, and less frequently discussed ones such as the disharmony engendered by generational and geographical differences. In the case of racial tension, the author situates the problem within its long-standing historical context, assessing the ways in which race-based enmity has been fostered since the nation’s genesis. Brakke also furnishes an analysis of the resentful tug-of war between cosmopolitan cities and the rural areas that lie beyond their perimeters. In each section, the author summarizes the problem, presenting the viewpoint from either side, and then supplies some candidate solutions. For example, within a discussion of the increasingly wide distance that separates the old and the young in the United States, Brakke suggests dispensing a tax credit to fully grown children who are willing to live with and care for their aging parents. In addition, while assessing the obstinate problem of racial tension in the country, he draws from the example of the military, which has managed to successfully combat segregation without resorting to any controversial affirmative action program. The cogent theme underlying the entire study is that while the fracturing of the nation into warring parts threatens its existence, there remains hope in the many ways those factions still depend upon one another. Brakke’s prose couldn’t be clearer—he writes with informality and intellectual temperance. In addition, it’s refreshing to see a work that addresses American divisiveness explore territory beyond race, wealth, and political affiliation. But the solutions the author offers don’t break much new ground, and can be as exasperatingly general as they are obvious. For example, as an antidote to racial tension, he counsels: “Anything that would reduce poverty in the urban ghettos would certainly help.”

A bipartisan and commonsensical study of U.S. disharmony, though somewhat lacking in originality.

Pub Date: June 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-947466-07-4

Page Count: 74

Publisher: American Leadership Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2017

Categories:

NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

Categories:

TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

Categories:
Close Quickview