Refreshingly optimistic; in our diversity lies great strength, Levin writes, a strength that can be tapped once all the...

THE FRACTURED REPUBLIC

RENEWING AMERICA’S SOCIAL CONTRACT IN THE AGE OF INDIVIDUALISM

A voice of both reason and establishment conservatism offers a prescription for renewed political discourse and bipartisan action.

You won’t hear many liberals saying that conservative voices make for healthy political balance, or vice versa. Levin (The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left, 2013, etc.), founder of the journal National Affairs and a distinguished student of Edmund Burke, understands that a middle lies between left and right. The right tends to complaints of moral apocalypse and jeremiad: as the author notes, if you had told a conservative 60 years ago that out-of-wedlock birth would increase tenfold to the present, “he probably would have painted a nightmarish spectacle that would bear little resemblance to our relatively thriving society.” Conversely, the left tends to alarmist talk about economic matters, especially inequality, “in ways that suggest that the sky could fall on our society any minute.” Can there be middle ground? Yes, writes Levin, in ways that accommodate some of the best things about both traditions while decentralizing power to “create a constructive tension that can help us to make the most of democratic capitalism.” The operative word is “constructive,” and this in the place of what Levin criticizes as the tendency of both political wings to fall into golden-age nostalgia that does not admit of much action, the left for the 1960s and the right for the ’80s. Some of the author’s proposals are too lightly sketched to test, but they are interesting all the same. One example is his call to privatize certain public services but at the same time allow other public services to compete in the open market—allowing, for instance, post offices to double as banks, a note that Bernie Sanders has been sounding of late. Against “fracture and deconsolidation,” Levin even suggests that “Right” and “Left” designations may not be useful.

Refreshingly optimistic; in our diversity lies great strength, Levin writes, a strength that can be tapped once all the rancor is put aside. Highly recommended for readers of whatever political stripe.

Pub Date: May 24, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-465-06196-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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