This in-depth portrait of English history's consummate stateswoman — her "Justice, temper, magnanimity, judgment" (the queen's own assessment of what best fitted a monarch) — focuses on politics rather than the cult of personality. And surely no one could be more politic than Elizabeth Tudor, whose prudent alliances catapulted England from a bankrupt minor kingdom to a great power. Her ability to win the absolute fidelity of her subordinates and to manipulate her favorites and suitors is legendary. On the question of the Virgin Queen's virginity, Johnson quotes Elizabeth herself: "I do not live in a comer — a thousand eyes see all I do, and calumny will not fasten on me forever," and suggests that only once, during a summer spent hunting with Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, did she come close to allowing her feelings to rule her head. She is styled here as an omni-competent cool pragmatist, but also a pacifist, who advocated tolerance toward Roman Catholics after her restoration of the Protestant Church of England, objected angrily to the beheading of her cousin Mary Queen of Scots, went to war with Spain reluctantly, and suffered personally over the execution of Essex for his conspiratorial folly. Elizabeth comes through as a model ruler, humble and charismatic, moral and resolute. Totally involving biography, perhaps even touched with relevance for our own era of crisis in world leadership.

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 1974

ISBN: 0030129362

Page Count: -

Publisher: Holt Rinehart & Winston

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1974

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet