BERLIN JOURNAL

1989-1990

Spending a year in Germany to write another monograph on the 18th century, Darnton (The Kiss of Lamourette, 1989, etc.; European History/Princeton) encountered history in the raw: the fall of the Berlin Wall and the movement toward German unification. Here, in describing these events, he proves himself a far lesser journalist than historian. The first chapter presents Darnton's ``Confessions of a Germanophobe'' and contains the irony of showing a scholar of the Enlightenment under long-term siege by the forces of his own prejudice and unreason. The text then rumbles along to cover developments that led up to the dancing on the Berlin Wall. Darnton is at his best when he forgets himself, listens to people, and tells the story—as he does increasingly in the second half of the book, which gives accounts of his travels, talks, and research in East Germany. Several reports are fresh and lively. And yet, in Darnton's own words, ``my greatest handicap was my ignorance. I have never spent much time studying German politics or culture. But at least I knew that I knew nothing, which is an advantage in a way.'' Perhaps—but not when language barriers or cultural misreadings hinder understanding. Darnton misses much of the heartbeat in Germany's gentle revolution. In Berlin, for instance, he has trouble catching on to the city's paradoxical brand of wit, which delights in proudly self-deprecating humor. Lacking cohesion, this reads frequently like an afterthought, with the additional flaw of placing the historian in conflict with the journalist.

Pub Date: June 3, 1991

ISBN: 0-393-02970-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 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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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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