A sometimes-distorted and sometimes-revealing portrait of a nightmarish United States.

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America The Black Point of View: An Investigation and Study of The White People of America and Western Europe and The Autobiography of an American Ghetto Boy - The 1950's and 1960's - From the Projects to NAACP Image Award Winner, Volume One.

White racism, slavery, and ongoing bigotry are to blame for the problems of black America, as well as the author’s violent youth, according to this manifesto and accompanying memoir.

Rose, a publisher and record producer, opens his book with an essay. Its subjects include the sins of white people against Africans, surveying the horrors of the Middle Passage; the violation of slave women by white owners in the American South and the brutalization and emasculation of black men; the drug trade in black communities, which he contends is organized by the U.S. government; police killings; and the ingrained racism of some 70 percent of whites. Rose’s rambling exposition of the history of slavery and racism, some of it apparently reprinted from Wikipedia, contains much truth. However, it also contains exaggeration and stereotyping of people of European descent, whom he characterizes as “primitive, barbaric, vicious white monkeys [who] descended with the horrors of their psychotic desires and thirst for blood, rape and death on so-called uncivilized African and people of color throughout the world.” He calls for reparations, and urges African-American youngsters to avoid drugs and crime and get an education; less constructively, he suggests that “whenever we meet or see a white man we should all just spit on him for the death of our millions of ancestors.” The volume’s second part, “The Autobiography of an American Ghetto Boy,” is more personal and less ideological, as it recounts Rose’s grim upbringing in the purgatory of Boston’s housing projects in the 1950s and ’60s. He writes of being perpetually hungry; abandoned by his father, a career pimp and mob hit man who was often in jail; regularly beaten by a mentally unstable mother; and preyed upon by merciless gangs—until he joined one and started committing robberies. His story also has its heroes, including his genteel grandmother, sympathetic grocers, the nuns at his parochial school, a caring Boy Scout leader, and finally, the U.S. Air Force, which gave him training and discipline. Overall, the memoir is fragmented and repetitive. However, his prose is vigorous and vivid, and sometimes pungent, scabrous, and sexually graphic. It leaves a lasting impression of the chaos, deprivation, and psychic ravages of the ghetto, but also gives readers a more nuanced, three-dimensional view of its social life and its people.

A sometimes-distorted and sometimes-revealing portrait of a nightmarish United States.

Pub Date: May 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-937269-50-0

Page Count: 572

Publisher: Amber Communications Group, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2015

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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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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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