Not profoundly revelatory, but the intimate look into the way decisions were made brings Roosevelt very much into human...

Intelligent, informed thoughts on FDR’s presidency by a close associate: Solicitor General, Attorney General, and finally Supreme Court Justice Jackson (1892–1954).

Written in the early 1950s but only recently discovered by editor Barrett among Jackson’s personal papers, the manuscript considers FDR in separate chapters as a politician, lawyer, commander-in-chief, administrator, economist, leader, and friend. Although the text has a finished quality, it also has the brevity of quick notes jotted down with examples of Roosevelt’s strengths and weaknesses in each department. Jackson promises readers the “testimony of an interested witness” and takes seasoned measure of a man so often “the subject of undiscriminating idolatry or of unreasoning hate.” What the author saw was a self-confident gentleman, brimming with intellectual capital, informal but dignified, capable of being mercurial and of trespassing on legislative turf, as when he tried to remove policymakers outside executive agencies. Jackson unveils episodes of step-by-step policy formation, as when the administration exchanged destroyers for naval and air stations in the Atlantic, bypassing (with dubious constitutionality) Congressional approval. He also points out, again with examples, Roosevelt's shortcomings: FDR was “impatient of the slow and exacting judicial process”—impatient, indeed, with anything that was slow and exacting—and Jackson remarks that, for someone who effected radical changes on the economic landscape, his friend’s vision “did not impress me as being grounded in economic theory or practice.” Rather, FDR made his decisions based on political judgment and social philosophy, which he was able to communicate to the man on the street. Jackson writes smoothly and manages to compress many angles of complex material into a brief text.

Not profoundly revelatory, but the intimate look into the way decisions were made brings Roosevelt very much into human focus. (24 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-19-516826-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2003



Lg. Prt. 0-375-70288-1 This first nonfiction outing from singer/songwriter Buffett (Where Is Joe Merchant?, 1992, etc.) is more food for his Parrothead fans, but there is some fine writing along with the self-revelation. Half autobiography and half travelogue, this volume recounts a trip by Buffett and his family to the Caribbean over one Christmas holiday to celebrate the writer’s 50th birthday. Buffett is a licensed pilot, and his personal weakness is for seaplanes, so it’s primarily in this sort of craft that the family’s journey takes place. While giving beautiful descriptions of the locales to which he travels (including a very attractive portrait of Key West, from which he sets out), Buffett intersperses recollections of his first, short-lived marriage, his experiences in college and avoiding the Vietnam draft, and his brief employment at Billboard magazine’s Nashville bureau before becoming a professional musician. In the meantime, he carries his reader seamlessly through the Cayman Island, Costa Rica, Colombia, the Amazon basin, and Trinidad and Tobago. Buffett shows that he is a keen observer of Latin American culture and also that he can “pass” in these surroundings when he needs to. It’s perhaps on this latter point that this book finds its principal weakness. Buffett tends toward preachiness in addressing his mostly landlubber readers, as when he decries the seeming American inability to learn a second language while most Caribbeans can speak English; elsewhere he attacks “ugly Americans out there making it harder for us more-connected-to-the-local-culture types.” On the other hand, he seems right on the money when he observes that the drug war of the 1980s did little to stop trafficking in the area and that turning wetlands into helicopter pads for drug agents isn’t going to offer any additional help. Both Parrotheads and those with a taste for the Caribbean find something for their palates here. (Author tour)

Pub Date: July 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-679-43527-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1998



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

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