A well-told tale of ego and politics subverting justice and a military with a conspicuous lack of honor, set against the...

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A STORY OF KOREA AND THE POLITICS OF INJUSTICE

Attorney Shaines details his experience with a nasty piece of legal and military skullduggery that happened during the Korean War.

Shaines was still wet behind his law-school ears when he was assigned to defend a second lieutenant serving in Korea, George Schreiber, who had been charged with premeditated murder. But before charging into that appalling situation, author Shaines wisely puts the war in Korea into perspective; despite the best efforts of writers like David Halberstam, that conflict remains a shadowy affair. Shaines draws it, assiduously and with conviction, as a murderous, corrupt enterprise, a Cold War folly of dreadful alternatives—Kim Il Sung and Syngman Rhee. Into this “place of horror and deprivation” came Schreiber, placed in charge of an Air Police guard unit in Pusan. Under his command were two soldiers, Kinder and Toth, who had arrested and roughed up a man of unknown nationality (an “Oriental male” whom some wag dubbed Bang Soon Kil), then shot him to death. It was bandied about that Schreiber, who was on medication for allergies and a bit fuzzy, had insinuated to Kinder and Toth that they should get rid of the man. So Schreiber was put up on charges of murder, Shaines was detailed to serve as his lawyer and the rest of the story concerns the sham that passed as a trial. Shaines tells it in a grippingly direct manner and with an urgent liveliness. It is a sad story of double-dealing and foregone conclusions where the accused will not be acquitted but be given a “fair trial before they hang him.” Although the uniform code of military justice forbids the strong-arm tactics of command influence, wherein the will of a senior officer shall be done (“if the general wanted someone convicted, there would be a conviction”), it was routine in real-world application in Korea. Shaines is bell clear in his depiction of military power mongering, the incompetence of many officers and the outrageous roadblocks thrown up against the defense.

A well-told tale of ego and politics subverting justice and a military with a conspicuous lack of honor, set against the misery of wartime Korea.

Pub Date: Nov. 23, 2010

ISBN: 978-1598000214

Page Count: 430

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Dec. 30, 2010

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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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