A DREAM DEFERRED

AMERICA'S DISCONTENT AND THE SEARCH FOR A NEW DEMOCRATIC IDEAL

An insightful, timely examination of the fragility of America's commitment to democracy, by cultural analyst Slater (How I Saved the World, 1985, etc.). In many ways an expansion of his classic The Pursuit of Loneliness (1970), this is powerful and provocative on its own terms. Starting with the optimistic assertion that authoritarianism is finally relinquishing its five-thousand-year choke-hold on social structures worldwide, Slater argues that the democratic spirit gaining ground elsewhere is still vigorously resisted here at home. Through systematic oppression, the encouragement of public apathy and submissiveness, the deflection of public resentment, and especially the withholding of critical information, America's founding ideals have been subverted, with the erosion clearly accelerated in the last decade, to the point where militarism and macho sensibilities have taken over in shaping the American presence in the world. Democracy is the wave of the future for Slater, however, so to him the prevailing ``might makes right'' sensibility in post-WW II US foreign policy, a perfect expression of the authoritarian agenda, can be viewed as a read-guard action sure to fail when the American people awaken (or are awakened) to their civic responsibilities. Heavily indebted to the pioneering work of Mary Parker Follett in defining modern democracy, an impressive array of historical, sociological, and statistical arguments are deployed to convey the serious nature of the dilemma our culture faces, but course- corrections are provided so that the prognosis is distinctly upbeat. Persuasive, comprehensive, and precious at this historical moment.

Pub Date: May 30, 1991

ISBN: 0-8070-4304-4

Page Count: 222

Publisher: Beacon

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1991

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SLEEPERS

An extraordinary true tale of torment, retribution, and loyalty that's irresistibly readable in spite of its intrusively melodramatic prose. Starting out with calculated, movie-ready anecdotes about his boyhood gang, Carcaterra's memoir takes a hairpin turn into horror and then changes tack once more to relate grippingly what must be one of the most outrageous confidence schemes ever perpetrated. Growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s, former New York Daily News reporter Carcaterra (A Safe Place, 1993) had three close friends with whom he played stickball, bedeviled nuns, and ran errands for the neighborhood Mob boss. All this is recalled through a dripping mist of nostalgia; the streetcorner banter is as stilted and coy as a late Bowery Boys film. But a third of the way in, the story suddenly takes off: In 1967 the four friends seriously injured a man when they more or less unintentionally rolled a hot-dog cart down the steps of a subway entrance. The boys, aged 11 to 14, were packed off to an upstate New York reformatory so brutal it makes Sing Sing sound like Sunnybrook Farm. The guards continually raped and beat them, at one point tossing all of them into solitary confinement, where rats gnawed at their wounds and the menu consisted of oatmeal soaked in urine. Two of Carcaterra's friends were dehumanized by their year upstate, eventually becoming prominent gangsters. In 1980, they happened upon the former guard who had been their principal torturer and shot him dead. The book's stunning denouement concerns the successful plot devised by the author and his third friend, now a Manhattan assistant DA, to free the two killers and to exact revenge against the remaining ex-guards who had scarred their lives so irrevocably. Carcaterra has run a moral and emotional gauntlet, and the resulting book, despite its flaws, is disturbing and hard to forget. (Film rights to Propaganda; author tour)

Pub Date: July 10, 1995

ISBN: 0-345-39606-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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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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