A thoroughly researched and ultimately persuasive telling of how the Democrats arrived at their current crossroads.

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WE'VE GOT PEOPLE

A political book offers a history of the populist left in America from 1988 to the present.

As Joe Biden leads the Democratic primary field, some voters may recall his first, failed campaign for president back in 1988. But Grim (This Is Your Country on Drugs, 2009) argues that the most influential candidate in that race was not Biden or even the ultimate Democratic nominee, Michael Dukakis. Rather, it was the man challenging Dukakis from the left, the civil rights leader and minister Jesse Jackson. Though Jackson ran a competitive but unsuccessful campaign, his call for a “Rainbow Coalition” of voters from across the racial and gender spectrum in order to confront the “economic violence” that affected them all proved prophetic of leftist politics to come. The unexpectedly popular 2016 campaign of Bernie Sanders and the subsequent election and celebrity of progressive candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have reshaped the Democratic Party and revealed widespread dissatisfaction with America’s racial and economic status quo. With this book, the author tracks the development of these ideas across the last three decades, from moments of centrist dominance—and sabotage—to glimmers of true reform. A seasoned journalist, Grim delivers prose that is smooth and often gripping, even when describing floor votes involving U.S. Representative Bart Stupak: “In March, Stupak and his gang of anti-choice dissidents eventually came around to a compromise on abortion and voted in favor of the bill. During the floor debate, a Republican shouted ‘baby killer’ at Stupak while he spoke.” The complexity of the political process really shines through—inattentive readers may at times lose the thread—but the author is able to show how each event relates to his central argument. Grim has a clear agenda and ends by warning voters to stop being pundits and vote for the politicians they actually admire: economic progressives such as Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, not moderates like Biden whom they perceive to be electable. Even so, this behind-the-scenes account of the internal struggles within the Democratic Party will be of interest even to those who don’t have red roses in their Twitter profiles.

A thoroughly researched and ultimately persuasive telling of how the Democrats arrived at their current crossroads.

Pub Date: May 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-947492-38-7

Page Count: 401

Publisher: Strong Arm Press

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2019

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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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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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