This study of Irish leader Charles Stewart Parnell's impact on Irish nationalism and on the course of British politics traverses an already well-traveled road. Prolific English historian Kee (1939: In the Shadow of War, 1984, etc.) brings to Irish history a careful, unimpassioned view, which is useful in tracing the evolution of Parnell, an Anglo-Irish Protestant landlord with little early interest in politics, into a leader who embodied and directed the nationalism of the Irish people. After entering the House of Commons at the age of 28, Parnell quickly brought the art of obstruction to new heights, became chairman of the Home Rule party within six years, and within five more had brought the Liberal Government to the point of introducing a Home Rule Bill that would have been considered ``no more than a rhetorical chimera'' when he first entered Parliament. In doing so, he helped turn out two British governments, one Liberal and one Conservative, and, by maneuvering the Liberals into adopting Home Rule, helped to turn out a third. He did so by a remarkably skillful use of parliamentary procedure, by creating the first disciplined democratic party of modern times, and by maneuvering to hold the balance of power between the Liberals and the Conservatives. He remains, however, as Kee notes, an elusive figure, and it is hard now to understand why British Prime Minister William Gladstone called Parnell the most remarkable man he had ever met. His fall was as swift as his rise; he was cited as co- respondent in the divorce petition of one of his colleagues, Willie O'Shea, and the scandal compromised the course of Irish nationalism for the next generation. Parnell died in 1891 at the age of 45, just four months after he had married his mistress. A careful, considered, judicious biography, but uninspired and oh, so long.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-241-12858-7

Page Count: 688

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1994

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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

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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

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