From Publishers Weekly
On the New York Times
's Op-Ed page, Herbert offers reportage-based columns, a counterpart—earnest, rueful, angry—to Maureen Dowd's savage comedies and Paul Krugman's closely argued economic indictments. If Herbert fails to find new language to describe the abuse of power and lack of social justice in the U.S., he is reliable in continuing to bring the news. His strongest work here is a series on Tulia, Tex., where a ne'er-do-well white undercover agent sent 46 black "drug traffickers" to prison on scant evidence; Herbert's columns spurred Justice Department redress. Sometimes his columns are prompted by studies from interest groups, but that doesn't mean he doesn't get out of the office, meeting young unemployed and undereducated Chicagoans, for example. At times, Herbert writes with effective passion; his stance against the war in Iraq is enhanced by his reflection on "Know Your Enemy" posters he saw in his own service days. Too often, however, Herbert's voice is lost amidst his dutiful quoting of sources, attentuating his power. (May 4)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Even though the nation is more powerful and prosperous than ever, Herbert, a New York Times
columnist, sees ominous signs of decay as we demonstrate national indifference to the erosion of basic rights. In this essay collection, Herbert explores troubling developments in the American vision, the justice system, economics, politics, and race relations. The book includes memories of Vietnam and its aftermath, a young Haitian refugee detained in Miami for two years, reporters covering a speech by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia having their tape recorders confiscated, and sweeping arrests of the black population of Tulia, Texas, on drug charges later proved to be false. Herbert laments that the nation, once engaged in the pursuit of lofty ideals, has lost its way as he explores a spirit of vengefulness and growing discontent with the war in Iraq. But he ends with a hopeful look at those things that continue to remain true to American ideals, including sports and the blues. These are heartfelt essays by a man disheartened by the direction of the nation. Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved