A well-reasoned treatise on the history of equality in America and how best to secure it in the future.



A timely review of America’s pursuit of equality and pragmatic solutions to better achieve it.

Tsai (Law/American Univ.; America’s Forgotten Constitutions: Defiant Visions of Power and Community, 2014, etc.) argues that to overcome injustice and inequality, we must be open to “second-best solutions” and “workable alternatives” as a matter of constitutional duty to seek common ground. This approach, writes the author, “practical egalitarianism…entails creating a long-term backup plan to deal with recurring situations where we struggle to enforce equality’s demands. Practical egalitarians take seriously the basic idea of civic equality for all.” Yet “equality,” a loaded word with substantial variations in meaning and emphasis, can be tough to pin down. The author clearly understands this conundrum and addresses the issue with appropriate nuance and respect for diverse ideologies, and he argues that gradual and incremental developments can be just as important as massive legal battles, particularly in the advancement of fairness and free speech. Tsai examines how Americans have wrestled with equality throughout history, from slavery to the most recent ban on Muslim travelers, and the lessons we can draw from these struggles. Much of the book offers practical advice for spreading equality in the legal system, but he mostly avoids legalese, delivering his ideas in vivid prose: “Instead of flying higher and higher into theory in a quest for gorgeously rendered concepts that can solve all of our problems at once, our goal should be to immerse ourselves in the squalor of human existence.” Like a battle “waged on multiple fronts,” equality’s advocates must be prepared to “initiate fresh lines of attack.” The author’s intended audience, however, is not entirely clear. The premise inherent in the subtitle will likely find currency among general readers, but the book seems best tailored for policymakers, scholars, jurists, and activists.

A well-reasoned treatise on the history of equality in America and how best to secure it in the future.

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-393-65202-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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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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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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