Murray Kempton (1917-1997) was a columnist for Newsday, as well as a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books. His books include Rebellions, Perversities, and Main Events and The Briar Patch, as well as Part of Our Time. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1985.

IN THE REVIEW

The Brawls of Yesteryear

Murray Kempton wrote the following in July 1992, just before he left New York to cover the Democratic National Convention. My next national convention will be the twenty-first of those occasions when I have intruded my fleshly and decreasingly spirited presence upon the company of Democrats, Republicans—and once …

On Frank Sinatra (1915–1998)

One day I was dealing with Ella Fitzgerald, and the subject of Sinatra came up and her intruder-mistrusting voice suddenly softened and she said, “Frank. Just this little guy telling this story. That’s all you have to be.”

Once Ain’t for Always

An Explanation of My Title: Historical scholarship, that ragbag of myth, holds that once in 1927, while recording at the Columbia Studios, Bessie Smith had run through all her prepared material and then found herself with enough time left for another song and no way to use it except by …

With Malice Toward Many

Human Rights Watch World Report 1997: Events of 1996

Human Rights Watch has tolled the passing of one more year with the release of another annual report on the advances of harshness on Earth and official ill will to the helpless. These findings at once appeal to our conscience and define the bipartisan compact that has put our conscience …

The New Equality

All Too Familiar: Sexual Abuse of Women in U.S. State Prisons

When bedtime comes for the guests at the prison California delicately identifies as its Central Women’s Facility, the loudspeaker is reported not infrequently to announce, “All you bitches and whores, get into your rooms.” One little-noticed index of our advance toward gender equality is a 400 percent increase in the …

The Second Oldest Profession

The New York Times’s Maureen Dowd was in Georgia on election night brightening up the night watch over Newt Gingrich’s uneasiness. As is the usual case for communions with good girls and most especially with more than semidivine ones like Dowd, the talk drifted to the woes of woman as …

Drugs & the CIA

The New York Times’s Tim Golden noted recently that a full quarter of the New Yorkers of color sampled in a 1990 poll believed that their own government “deliberately makes sure that drugs are easily available in poor black neighborhoods in order to harm black people.” This impression of willful …

Million Dollar Legs

Dossier: The Secret History of Armand Hammer

by Edward Jay Epstein
Edward Jay Epstein’s Dossier: The Secret History of Armand Hammer especially claims our gratitude because its protagonist would otherwise have been forgotten when he was less than six years dead and his fortune, his monuments, and the whole huge mound of his frauds long since gone up in smoke. Hammer …