cover image The Best American Essays 1993

The Best American Essays 1993

Joseph Epstein. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $12.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-395-63648-0

The essay continues to be a vibrant and outrageously varied mode of expression, as evinced in this involving addition to the Best American Essays series, guest-edited by American Scholar editor Epstein. Philip Weiss is obsessed with the viability of extricating himself from a locked car trunk; critiquing Oliver Stone's film JFK and supporting the findings of the Warren Commission, Jacob Cohen brings proof that the President was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, who was acting alone. Barbara Grizzuti Harrison discovers that she loves to hate public television's Frugal Gourmet, who embodies for her the absurdities of the Politically Correct culture; and Jean Ervin relates how in 1945 she, a young woman of 20, learned a lesson in loosening up from an ``old maid'' relation. Caught between daughters who find his race lessons tiresome and college students who think him insufficiently black, Gerald Early ponders a contradictory Malcolm X whose Afrocentrism, Early concludes, is classically American; and black corporate lawyer Lawrence Otis Graham disguises himself as a busboy to expose the bigotry of a Connecticut country club. Discussing the career of a ``minor'' writer, Cynthia Ozick introduces readers to her former rival, Alfred Chester, who broke with Ozick after she insisted that he was not ``naturally'' homosexual. (Nov.)