UNEQUAL VERDICTS

THE CENTRAL PARK JOGGER TRIALS

Sullivan (news editor of the Courtroom Television Network) analyzes the Central Park Jogger trials in grim and fast-paced fashion. The April 21, 1989, assault on the anonymous woman known only as the ``Central Park jogger'' was not simply a rape. In its grotesque, stomach-churning brutality, the beating and sexual abuse of this lone woman by a gang of youths horrified a city that thought itself accustomed to chronic violence. Sullivan tells the gruesomely fascinating story of how an apparently iron-clad case- -buttressed by videotaped confessions and assisted by rulings of a fair but prosecution-minded judge—became a legal Rashomon: The physical evidence of rape did not link the assault with the defendants; the victim was unable to remember anything of the incident; witnesses could testify to only parts of the case; and defendants recanted much of their confessions and contradicted one another. Sullivan reveals ``how messy, complicated, and imperfect'' the process of searching for truth and justice can be, and how the results of a criminal trial can hinge on procedural minutiae, the political climate in which the trial is held, the skills of prosecutors and defense attorneys, the personalities of judge and jurors, and even the race and socioeconomic class of the victim and the accused. In the end, prosecutor Elizabeth Lederer, whom Sullivan represents as highly skilled and dedicated, was able to achieve convictions, but Sullivan demonstrates that the verdicts, and the sentences for the ten defendants who were convicted (which ranged from 5 to 15 years for rape and assault to one year for robbery), hinged on factors incidental to the actual guilt of the accused. Sullivan shows, disturbingly, that the result of a trial depends on ``a series of haunting `what ifs.' '' An excellent report of an important trial, though saddening and rough on the stomach.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-671-74237-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1992

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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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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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