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Rebellions, Perversities, and Main Events Hardcover – March 29, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Kempton, a columnist for New York Newsday and a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, commemorates his long career in journalism with this collection of essays, reviews, and columns. A Pulitzer Prize winner with over 40 years of writing experience, he has focused his attention on public personalities and events. Maintaining a strong personal vision of justice, he examines the lives and actions of the famous and the obscure. From a celebration of the "journey" of Thurgood Marshall to his lament over the denial of an Arlington cemetery burial to war hero and Communist activist Robert George Thompson, Kempton applies the same standards to all his subjects. This collection assumes a sophisticated reader with a wide knowledge of the culture and politics of the late 20th century, and some individual pieces suffer from the loss of the context of the times in which they were written. Recommended especially for journalism collections.
Judy Solberg, Univ. of Maryland Libs., College Park
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

A columnist, at one time the editor of the New Republic, and always a frequent contributor to publications such as the New York Review of Books and Esquire, Kempton has earned both a National Book Award (1973) and a Pulitzer Prize for commentary (1985). This "best of" collection offers a compendium of Kempton's probing, insightful reportage, reviews, and essays on politics and culture, movements and melodrama, and Americans famous and infamous. From FDR and Bessie Smith to Michael Milken and Ollie North, with stops along the way in Vietnam, at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, and in El Salvador and Nicaragua, Kempton has always been a New York writer whose curiosity embraces the world. Readers who value really perceptive journalism will appreciate this reminder of just how good Kempton was--and is. Mary Carroll

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 570 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1st edition (March 29, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812922948
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812922943
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #801,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G. Johnston on August 6, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a late-comer to Murray Kempton and find him to be one of the smartest social/political commentators of that generation of journalists. A great stylist. The obituary of Dwight Eisenhower is in the same class as Mencken's obituary of W. J. Bryan. I admire his honesty. He was a liberal, but perfectly willing to annoy liberals when necessary; for example, when he makes the case that Alger Hiss was a monumental liar. I enjoyed every piece.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Murray Kempton was a mid 20th century New York newspaper columnist - make that uber-Manhattan-liberal columnist -- whose graceful prose, originality of insight, and sheer intelligence won him a large audience not only among traditional liberals, but in the conservative sector, most famously, his dear friend William F. Buckley, Jr. His profiles tended to focus on the lives of the obscure and down-trodden, yet, with exceptional grace, he was able to tie the insights into the lives of the many, from the rich to the working middle class. His method of argument was almost classical, in the style of Cicero and the great Latin writers, yet grounded in 20th century humanism. While the subject matter of many of these essays - news items that only made the back pages of newspaper even in their time (mid-to late 20th century New York), the elegantly precise style and keen insights into human nature are timeless.
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