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Politics: Observations and Arguments, 1966-2004
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Politics: Observations and Arguments, 1966-2004

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  132 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Here at last are Hendrik Hertzberg’s most significant, hilarious, and devastating dispatches from the American scene he has chronicled for four decades with an uncanny blend of moral seriousness, high spirits, and perfect rhetorical pitch. Arranged thematically, each section contains the choicest, most illuminating pieces from his body of work and begins with a new piece o ...more
Paperback, 720 pages
Published June 28th 2005 by Penguin Books (first published July 2004)
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Adrian
Nov 24, 2014 Adrian added it
When my dad bought a subscription for The New Republic in the 1980s-90s it was columnists like Hertzberg that made it one of my favourite magazines. This is a collection of his pieces for NR and other magazines that run from the late 1970s till 2004. There are excellent profiles of RFK and Jimmy Carter (Hertzberg was one of his speechwriters) and a perceptive history of tabloids in New York City. In 651 pages not everything is going to stand out and some of the political reporting is dated but e ...more
Kyle Neale
I now want Hertzberg to explain anything and everything to me.
Joseph
As the New Yorker's political essayist (the column "Comment"), Hertzberg is known to many as the most stylish liberal writer in America and far be it from me to argue. As this anthology spanning four decades shows, his work is usually the most concise and well, correct, take on the controversies of the day - be they real (Watergate/9/11) or manufactured ones (flag burning, Terry Schiavo). His columns display an easy grace and his logic has the feel of inevitability to it - though a glance at the ...more
Steve Kierstead
Finished it a while back. At first it was like reliving the 80s (which was unpleasant). Later it became like reliving the G W Bush years, which was more than unpleasant. But the writing was good, and the thought mostly clear.

I appreciated his observations on the unrepresentativeness of our voting system, and his hope that a proportional system night improve things. The Senate is of course unrepresentative by design and hard to fix, and the Electoral College is ridiculous. I'm not sure what it mi
...more
seth
Caveat - this author certainly writes from a left-leaning perspective. That being said I believe the writing crisp, informative and not preachy (of course it helps that I often agree with his perspectives). This is basically a collection of his pieces from the New Yorker and other publications that deal with many of the main themes of the day over the last 40 years (from Vietnam to The War on Terror, Drugs, Middle Class etc..)

Its also nice, because you can pick it up in various parts and not fe
...more
Rick
Hertzberg is one of the most knowledgable, witty, and eloquent political writers of today; however Politics would have benefited from some curation. The book contains some excellent writing--Hertzberg's best pieces are his history of the newspaper industry and arguments for proportional representation--and even the worst pieces are eminently readable; however, little would be lost by cutting its length by a a third.
Neal
Political commentary written lucidly. An indispensable guide to the political struggles in America of the past forty years. I cannot imagine thinking about contemporary political issues without having an understanding of their antecedents, and Hertzberg illuminates them. Many dispatches are prescient; others aren't. But that's the cost of thinking aloud.
Sarah Pascarella
This was the perfect companion during the madness of Election 2008. Hertzberg's arguments are always well-reasoned, pragmatic, engaging, inspiring, and hopeful. And he's funny to boot. I loved it.
Eugene Ahn
Richly displays a rarely seen humanity in politics. Emotionally connects with the figures he writes about, and gives you hope in the potential good of the system. One of my favorites.
marcali
love Hertzberg; if you read the NYer then these will all be familiar. Reading the 2000 election columns are brutal.
Catherine Teh 陳婉然
Truthfully engaged! Hilarious, Frustrating, Provocative yet amusing! Must read!
Sarah
My only problem with Hendrik is that I tend to believe everything he says.
Robb
No better thinker or write about American politics.
Matt
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah
Hertzberg is a very fine writer.
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