Shawcross, a London Sunday Times correspondent uses Kadar essentially as the basis for an anti-Communist treatise, although the book contains valuable material about the pre-World War II Hungarian Party. By 1948 Communism, Shawcross thinks, was worse than Fascism, going downhill since the Red Army arrived along with the Muscovites of whom a "fat vulgar Jew," Zoltan Vas, was the first. About Kadar himself, an "anonymous apparatchik, a gray man in a gray suit," a quite detestable type whom no one dared befriend, Shawcross seems ambivalent yet sympathetic, alibiing his most flagrant Stalin-period crimes and subsequent lesser nastinesses. There are bits about his humility (Kadar was the bastard son of a kulak and a chambermaid), his dislike of airplanes, his chess-playing, his knowledge of the national temperament — the image of a relatively decent fellow. Rakosi, "all things to all men" and Stalin's postwar head-of-state puppet, is the bad guy, along with "the fat vulgar Jew." However, Shawcross spares no details of Kadar's role in convincing his best friend Rajk to "confess" during the 1948 purges; Rajk was hanged, and Kadar continued to climb. He had spent the Depression infiltrating the Social Democrats, who themselves were collaborating with the local fascists. It's material like this — despite a "this would never happen in England" tone and a clutter of cafe stories — that makes this a useful and critical political biography.

Pub Date: April 1, 1974

ISBN: 0297767984

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1974

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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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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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