Not the how-to book that its title suggests but Fish presents a compelling argument about the necessity of argument.



The acclaimed literary theorist and law professor addresses the concept of argument.

Fish (Cardozo Law School; Think Again: Contrarian Reflections on Life, Culture, Politics, Religion, Law, and Education, 2015, etc.) covers a lot of argumentative territory—political debates, marital spats, courtroom cases, academic analyses—and he is uniquely qualified to provide illumination on all. Fish shows how the arguments omnipresent in each of these arenas may differ—for example, “if you find yourself in an intractable political argument, you may extricate yourself and go home, but it will be the intractable domestic argument that you go home to; it’s always waiting for you.” The metadimension is where the illumination transcends such distinctions and the book’s essence lies: “I am making an argument about argument and its relationship to the human condition,” writes the author. “Basically, argument is the medium we swim in, whether we want to or not.” The points he presents are philosophical, metaphysical, even ontological, because arguments about argument involve inquiry into the nature of truth, the possibility of authority, and the cultural disdain toward words such as “rhetoric” and “spin” that the author considers crucial to these inevitable arguments. The book is not so much about winning arguments as it is about better arguments, ones that elevate the discourse toward a mutual discovery of truth (whatever that is) rather than scoring points toward partisan goals. If we ever were to agree on truth, arguments might cease, or at least decrease, but Fish asserts that this will never happen. “The wish to escape argument is really the wish to escape language,” he writes, “which is really the wish to escape politics and is finally the wish to escape mortality—and it won’t matter a whit.”

Not the how-to book that its title suggests but Fish presents a compelling argument about the necessity of argument.

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-222665-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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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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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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