cover image Subject to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics, and Culture

Subject to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics, and Culture

Katha Pollitt. Modern Library, $15.95 (368pp) ISBN 978-0-679-78343-5

Pollitt professes to find the cover of this collection of her Nation columns ""pretty""; her readers might find it misleading, since the eye on the cover is in sweet soft-focus, while Pollitt's own eye is steely, uncompromising and sharp. In these 88 brief essays, she brilliantly shears away the rhetorical cotton wool that obscures the serious implications of many hot social and political issues of contemporary America abortion, welfare reform, affirmative action, school vouchers, gun rights and control. Unfailingly feminist in her analysis, she is never tendentious and always witty. Nor is she reluctant to turn her gaze close to home, to the gap between the Nation's high-minded principles and its largely lily-white editorial offices, for example, in her discussion of various liberal hypocrisies. Her newly written introduction calls upon feminists at the millennium to kick-start the ""stalled revolution"" with renewed demands for change that, she says, would further social justice, and themselves transform those who articulate them. If there is anything to regret in this collection, it is that columns written seven years ago remain fresh today, so little progress having been made toward resolving the issues they raise. (Apr.) Forecast: This attractively packaged and affordable collection should prove popular among those whose spirits have been depressed by recent political events and prospects of future recession.