A spirited collection of provocative pathways.

THE CHALLENGE OF THINGS

THINKING THROUGH TROUBLED TIMES

A new collection of essays from Grayling (Philosophy/New Coll. of the Humanities, London; The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and for Humanism, 2014, etc.), whose distinguished record of accomplishments in the humanities and public service is recognized internationally.

The author organizes this thought-provoking collection of essays—most of them a concise three to four pages—into two sections. The first, “Destructions and Deconstructions,” deals with the problems of the contemporary world, including guns, religion, education, climate change, human rights issues, and global financial crisis. The second, “Constructions and Creations,” which is more philosophically programmatic in its orientation, takes up such themes as the public intellectual, the relationship between science and democracy (“the growth of science and the growth of liberal democracy were not merely contemporaneous, but causally connected”), and “Making the World a Better Place.” Grayling will no doubt offend conservative American readers with “The Prophetess,” a discussion of the “tough and tyrannical” Ayn Rand. “The microcosm of the Randian cult,” he writes, “was a reprise of every historical example of actual or would-be revolutions that have devoured their own.” Grayling will also provoke religious fundamentalists with “The Advantages of Atheist Political Leaders,” in which he writes, “atheist leaders are not going to think they are getting messages from Beyond telling them to go to war. They will not cloak themselves in supernaturalistic justifications, as Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George W. Bush came perilously close to doing when later talking about the decision to invade Iraq in 2002.” However, he’ll likely find plenty of support for his examinations of Chinese and Russian irredentism. Grayling takes a philosophical and ethical approach to human action, which can be at odds with the importance Americans accord to ideological beliefs. Nonetheless, the contrasts he draws between religious and scientific worldviews and practices, as well as his discussions of the role of the public intellectual, are undoubtedly stimulating.

A spirited collection of provocative pathways.

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4088-6461-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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