Journalists aren't held in the greatest esteem these days. Too many are insiders, value a scoop over all else, or are too cowardly to spurn accepted thought. Not Nat Hentoff. Hentoff is the kind of reporter (and citizen) all reporters should aspire to be--"less interested in 'exclusives,'" as he writes in Speaking Freely
, than "in making a difference." Speaking Freely
is Hentoff's chronicle of a career's worth of making a difference, writing unexpectedly--for a self-proclaimed Jewish atheist civil-libertarian--about everything from Vietnam and Israel to abortion and John Cardinal O'Connor to the Nation of Islam and the ACLU. Hentoff recalls a Village Voice
that presented "a forceful diversity of views" and a New Yorker
shaped by revered editor William Shawn. Speaking Freely
is an inspiring memoir from a man proud to have been called, by one editor, "a general pain in the ass."
From Library Journal
In a continuation of his well-received memoir, Boston Boy (LJ 3/15/86), Hentoff tells here the story of his life as a writer in New York. Hentoff started out writing about jazz in the 1950s and went on to write about his other interests, mainly civil liberties and education. In this book he reveals more about his years in the jazz world, but mostly he focuses on his involvement in the Civil Rights and antiwar movements of the 1960s. During that time he was also writing about these events for the Village Voice and later the New Yorker. Over the years, Hentoff has gained a reputation as an honest and outspoken defender of civil liberties. Though he occasionally comes across as a bit self-righteous, on balance this is an interesting and thoughtful book. Recommended for journalism and popular culture collections.?Rebecca Wondriska, Trinity Coll. Lib., Hartford, Ct.
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