In the latest addition to the poor-little-rich-girl bookshelf, tobacco heiress and Imelda Marcos-pal Doris Duke is portrayed by Washington Post reporter Mansfield as tightfisted, eccentric, and aimless. Duke was 12 when, in 1925, her father died and she inherited his vast fortune. An awkward teenager, she wore hand-me-downs from her mother and was said never to carry money. Her first husband, Jimmy Cromwell, was a charming fortune hunter with political ambitions; on their round-the-world honeymoon, his first check bounced, and from then on the pair lived on Duke's money. A stop in Hawaii led Duke to build a house there (she also had estates in Newport and New Jersey). When she and Cromwell split, WW II was on and Doris joined the United Seaman's Service and went abroad to serve in Cairo; before long, she had joined the OSS in Italy. She married legendary lover Porfiro Rubirosa and, after their divorce, hung out with jazz musicians and surrounded herself with psychics and faith healers. Duke shopped constantly (for instance, buying whole temples in Thailand and having them shipped back to the States) while astonishing her servants with her cheapness. Chandi Heffner, a Hare Krishna devotee, moved in with her in the mid-80's; Duke adopted this young woman, reputed to be her lover, only to evict her unapologetically opportunist ``daughter'' sometime after the pair became close to Marcos, then living in Hawaii. So Duke apparently sought fulfillment, bought lovers, and achieved little. Mansfield has amassed voluminous research, and there's a voyeuristic charge to following the spoiled whims of this notoriously reclusive heiress; and yet a seemingly petty, controlling woman without humor or flare makes for an unexciting biography.

Pub Date: June 8, 1992

ISBN: 0-399-13672-X

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1992

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


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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