A vivid, gripping account of police fight or flight that highlights genuine heroism but fails to effectively address murkier...

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THE RED DOT CLUB

In his nonfiction debut, Rangel, a Los Angeles-area police veteran, shines light on the many factors that go into a cop’s use of deadly force.

What’s it like to have to shoot someone to defend oneself or others? The author combines his own firsthand experience with testimonies of other colleagues who found themselves embroiled in gun battles. While on duty in an unmarked car in the early 1990s, Rangel became the victim of an attempted carjacking as gang members opened fire on him and his partner. A shootout followed and Rangel was shot; he was later taken to the hospital in the same ambulance as his assailant. The incident made the author interested to hear about similar experiences from fellow members of the titular “Red Dot Club” of wounded officers. He relates the tale of Frank, a cop who had an off-duty encounter with some gangsters who shot him and his infant son in retaliation for a prior drug arrest Frank had made. In another story, Stacy Lim, a clean-cut Asian-American cop, had a gun battle with a young man after arriving in her own driveway; she managed to kill the shooter before passing out from her injuries. Another story tells of a robbery-in-progress in which perpetrators used assault rifles and hand grenades; eight deputies and highway patrolmen were wounded. Rangel’s voice is engaging and his discussion of physiological responses to life-threatening situations is fascinating. However, these stories of deadly police force often involve armed suspects who were practically baying for cops’ blood, so the author’s general claims of widespread media distortion and misplaced sympathy for victims of police violence seem less than convincing. For example, he supposes that if the media reported on his own shootout, the perpetrator would have been presented as just “a 12 year-old-boy on a bicycle,” which seems simplistic and disingenuous—especially in an era of dashboard cams and iPhone footage.

A vivid, gripping account of police fight or flight that highlights genuine heroism but fails to effectively address murkier issues.

Pub Date: July 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-0990317357

Page Count: 254

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

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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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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

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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