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Gadfly: The Life and Times of Les Kinsolving-White House Watchdog Hardcover – May 3, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Les Kinsolving has been a colorful and outspoken critic, commentator, reporter and talk-show host for more than fifty years. The title "Gadfly" is well-chosen and appropriate for a biography of Les, since that has been his hallmark as a reporter and radio talk-show host as well as in his first career as a parish priest.
If you want to learn why Les is the way he is, this narrative goes part of the way in explaining why. In his formative years, he was a moderate and progressive on social issues, civil rights in particular. His lifetime ideological drift has been to the right, but he is not a rightwinger such as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggert, etc. Nor is he foul-mouthed or mean-spirited.
"Gadfly" could have stood sharper editing. The narrative style is somewhat rambling and reminiscently "Faulknerian" in its sweep.
Over his career, Les Kinsolving was able to break several important stories, the most important of which was the Reverend Jim Jones and the Peoples' Temple, which ended in the mass suicide at Jonestown in the South American country of Guyana.
As a White House correspondent to several administrations, Kinsolving mostly distinguished himself as a pest to whomever was the Press Secretary in those administrations, both Democratic and Republican. A gadfly, many of his questions were minor and frankly irrelevant but on occasion, he captured the moment with a zinger. In mid-life, Kinsolving found his calling in hosting talk-show radio for stations in Philadelphia, New York and ultimately Baltimore, where his voice has been heard for close to 30 years.
Les Kinsolving has stood bravely against stupidity in high places, both religious and political for years-- he has recieved little recognition for it. I remained for his daughter Kathleen to pen a loving tribute to her gadfly father, combiing the love of a daughter with the acumen and honest reporting of a biographer with both sharp observation and great access to primary materials. The account of the exposure of Jim Jones in the face of political protection and cover by religious figures was particularly deftly done. But as one who has written of the left-wing penetration of the church in which Les and many generations of his family as well were ordained, I can attest to the recording in this excellent biography of many facts with which even I was not famlar before reading Kathleen's book.
A loving peon to a gadfly who,like Socrates,was and indeed still continues always making making the important people and those who think themselves impotant, very uncomfortable.