Policy analysis, as a practical matter, is hardly new. Throughout history, rulers have sought advice from priests or sages, and monarchs have conferred with counselors. The emergence of empirical social research in the nineteenth century laid the groundwork for policy advice that was more than an idiosyncratic political exercise, but it was not until well into this century that the systematic examination of policy issues became feasible. Advice and Consent traces the recent course of the "policy sciences," a term coined in 1951 to describe an analytic approach that draws on political science, sociology, law, economics, psychology, and operations research to examine specific social problems in context. Peter deLeon's unique contribution is to delineate two separate but related currents in the development of the policy sciences: first, the evolution of intellectual tools for analysis ("advice"); and second, the evolution of a perceived need for policy research as prompted by events such as the war on poverty ("consent"). Peter deLeon's concise and literate account of how these two trends shaped the policy sciences and affected each other clarifies the present state of policy research, explores its failure to realize fully its ideals, and frames the challenges facing the policy sciences as they struggle to complete their transformation from academic fancy to institutional fact.
Q. Is it “happy medium” or “happy median”? My author writes: “We would all be much better served as stewards of finite public funds if we could find that happy median where trust reigns supreme.” Thanks!
A. The idiom is “happy medium,” but I like the image of commuters taking refuge from road rage on the happy median.
Q. How do I write a title of a song in the body of the work (caps, bold, underline, italics, etc.)? Example: The Zombies’ “She’s Not There” looped in his head.
A. Noooo! Now that song is looping in my head (“but it’s too late to say you’re sorry . . .”). Use quotation marks. Thanks a lot.
Every month, tens of thousands of self-declared word nerds converge upon a single site: The Chicago Manual of Style Online's Q&A. There the Manual’s editors open the mailbag and tackle readers’ questions on topics ranging from abbreviation to word division to how to reform that coworker who still insists on two spaces between sentences. Champions of common sense, the editors offer smart, direct, and occasionally tongue-in-cheek responses that have guided writers and settled arguments for more than fifteen years.
But Can I Start a Sentence with “But”? brings together the best of the Chicago Style Q&A. Curated from years of entries, it features some of the most popular—and hotly debated—rulings and also recovers old favorites long buried in the archives.
Questions touch on myriad matters of editorial style—capitalization, punctuation, alphabetizing, special characters—as well as grammar, usage, and beyond (“How do I spell out the sound of a scream?”). A foreword by Carol Fisher Saller, the Q&A’s longtime editor, takes readers through the history of the Q&A and addresses its reputation for mischief. (“It’s not that we set out to be cheeky,” she writes.)
Taken together, the questions and answers offer insights into some of the most common issues that face anyone who works with words. They’re also a comforting reminder that even the best writer or editor needs a little help—and humor—sometimes.
Beginning with “The Writer’s Wonderland—Or: A Warning” and ending with “You’ve Published a Book—Now What?” The Creative Writer’s Survival Guide is a must-read for creative-writing students and teachers, conference participants, and aspiring writers of every stamp. Directed primarily at fiction writers but suitable for writers of all genres, John McNally’s guide is a comprehensive, take-no-prisoners blunt, highly idiosyncratic, and delightfully subjective take on the writing life.
McNally has earned the right to dispense advice on this subject. He has published three novels, two collections of short fiction, and hundreds of individual stories and essays. He has edited six anthologies and worked with editors at university presses, commercial houses, and small presses. He has earned three degrees, including an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and taught writing to thousands of students at nine different universities. But he has received far more rejections than acceptances, has endured years of underpaid adjunct work, and is presently hard at work on a novel for which he has no guarantee of publication. In other words, he’s been at the writing game long enough to rack up plenty of the highs and lows that translate into an invaluable guide for anyone who wants to become a writer or anyone who is already a writer but doesn’t know how to take the next step toward the writing life.
In the sections The Decision to Become a Writer, Education and the Writer, Getting Published, Publicity, Employment for Writers, and The Writer’s Life, McNally wrestles with writing degrees and graduate programs, the nuts and bolts of agents and query letters and critics, book signings and other ways to promote your book, alcohol and other home remedies, and jobs for writers from adjunct to tenure-track. Chapters such as “What Have You Ever Done That’s Worth Writing About?” “Can Writing Be Taught?” “Rejection: Putting It in Perspective,” “Writing as a Competitive Sport,” “Seven Types of MLA Interview Committees,” “Money and the Writer,” and the all-important “Talking about Writing vs. Writing” cover a vast range of writerly topics from learning your craft to making a living at it. McNally acts as the writer’s friendly drill sergeant, relentlessly honest but bracingly cheerful as he issues his curmudgeonly marching orders. Alternately cranky and philosophical, full of to-the-point anecdotes and honest advice instead of wonkish facts and figures, The Creative Writer’s Survival Guide is a snarky, truthful, and immensely helpful map to being a writer in today’s complex world.
We often talk loosely of the “tyranny of the majority” as a threat to the workings of democracy. But, in ancient Greece, the analogy of demos and tyrant was no mere metaphor, nor a simple reflection of elite prejudice. Instead, it highlighted an important structural feature of Athenian democracy. Like the tyrant, the Athenian demos was an unaccountable political actor with the power to hold its subordinates to account. And like the tyrant, the demos could be dangerous to counsel since the orator speaking before the assembled demos was accountable for the advice he gave.
With Dangerous Counsel, Matthew Landauer analyzes the sometimes ferocious and unpredictable politics of accountability in ancient Greece and offers novel readings of ancient history, philosophy, rhetoric, and drama. In comparing the demos to a tyrant, thinkers such as Herodotus, Plato, Isocrates, and Aristophanes were attempting to work out a theory of the badness of unaccountable power; to understand the basic logic of accountability and why it is difficult to get right; and to explore the ways in which political discourse is profoundly shaped by institutions and power relationships. In the process they created strikingly portable theories of counsel and accountability that traveled across political regime types and remain relevant to our contemporary political dilemmas.
Recounting her own field experiences in Japanese-American relocation centers during World War II and later in American Indian communities, Rosalie H. Wax offers advice to help the beginning field worker anticipate and confront the exigencies and accidents of fieldwork with good nature, fortitude, and common sense. Doing Fieldwork is a useful book in many respects: as a guide to participant observation and ethnographic fieldwork; as an analysis of the theoretical presuppositions and history of fieldwork; as a discussion of contemporary issues in social science research; and simply as an entertaining and dramatic story.
In this book, prizewinning novelist and popular creative writing instructor Douglas Bauer (The Book of Famous Iowans) shares the secrets of his trade. Talent, as Bauer acknowledges, is the most crucial element for a writer and cannot be taught. But without a regular habit of work, and a perseverance of effort, no amount of talent can come forward and be recognized. His lively and candid essays on subjects critical to the fiction writer’s success demystify the essential elements of fiction writing, how they work, and work together.
Bauer’s focus is on the building blocks of successful fiction: dialogue (the intimate relationship between characters talking and the eavesdropping reader), characters (the virtues of creating fictional characters that are both splendidly flawed and sympathetic), and dramatic events (ways to create moments that produce an emotional and psychological impact). There are also chapters on crafting effective openings and memorable closings of stories and on the vital presence of sentiment in fiction versus the ruinous effect of sentimentality. By assuming the point of view of someone at the task, engaged with the work, inside the effort to bring an invented world to life, The Stuff of Fiction speaks to writers of all ages in a pleasurable yet practical voice.
Douglas Bauer is the author of three novels, Dexterity, The Very Air, and The Book of Famous Iowans, and one book of nonfiction, Prairie City, Iowa. He is also a core faculty member with the MFA Program at Bennington College and has received a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Massachusetts Artists Foundation grant, and two Harvard Danforth Excellence in Teaching Citations.
Each year writers and editors submit over three thousand grammar and style questions to the Q&A page at The Chicago Manual of Style Online. Some are arcane, some simply hilarious—and one editor, Carol Fisher Saller, reads every single one of them. All too often she notes a classic author-editor standoff, wherein both parties refuse to compromise on the "rights" and "wrongs" of prose styling: "This author is giving me a fit." "I wish that I could just DEMAND the use of the serial comma at all times." "My author wants his preface to come at the end of the book. This just seems ridiculous to me. I mean, it’s not a post-face."
In The Subversive Copy Editor, Saller casts aside this adversarial view and suggests new strategies for keeping the peace. Emphasizing habits of carefulness, transparency, and flexibility, she shows copy editors how to build an environment of trust and cooperation. One chapter takes on the difficult author; another speaks to writers themselves. Throughout, the focus is on serving the reader, even if it means breaking "rules" along the way. Saller’s own foibles and misadventures provide ample material: "I mess up all the time," she confesses. "It’s how I know things."
Writers, Saller acknowledges, are only half the challenge, as copy editors can also make trouble for themselves. (Does any other book have an index entry that says "terrorists. See copy editors"?) The book includes helpful sections on e-mail etiquette, work-flow management, prioritizing, and organizing computer files. One chapter even addresses the special concerns of freelance editors.
Saller’s emphasis on negotiation and flexibility will surprise many copy editors who have absorbed, along with the dos and don’ts of their stylebooks, an attitude that their way is the right way. In encouraging copy editors to banish their ignorance and disorganization, insecurities and compulsions, the Chicago Q&A presents itself as a kind of alter ego to the comparatively staid Manual of Style. In The Subversive Copy Editor, Saller continues her mission with audacity and good humor.
Longtime manuscript editor and Chicago Manual of Style guru Carol Fisher Saller has negotiated many a standoff between a writer and editor refusing to compromise on the “rights” and “wrongs” of prose styling. Saller realized that when these sides squared off, it was often the reader who lost. In her search for practical strategies for keeping the peace, The Subversive Copy Editor was born. Saller’s ideas struck a chord, and the little book with big advice quickly became a must-have reference for copy editors everywhere.
In this second edition, Saller adds new chapters, on the dangers of allegiance to outdated grammar and style rules and on ways to stay current in language and technology. She expands her advice for writers on formatting manuscripts for publication, on self-editing, and on how not to be “difficult.” Saller’s own gaffes provide firsthand (and sometimes humorous) examples of exactly what not to do. The revised content reflects today’s publishing practices while retaining the self-deprecating tone and sharp humor that helped make the first edition so popular. Saller maintains that through carefulness, transparency, and flexibility, editors can build trust and cooperation with writers.
The Subversive Copy Editor brings a refreshingly levelheaded approach to the classic battle between writers and editors. This sage advice will prove useful and entertaining to anyone charged with the sometimes perilous task of improving the writing of others.
During a pivotal point in Spanish history, aristocrat María de Guevara (?–1683) produced two extraordinary essays that appealed for strong leadership, protested political corruption, and demanded the inclusion of women in the court’s decision making. “Treaty” gave Philip IV practical suggestions for fighting the war against Portugal and “Disenchantments” counseled the king-to-be, Charles II, on strategies to raise the country’s status in Europe. This annotated bilingual edition, featuring Nieves Romero-Díaz’s adroit translation, reproduces Guevara’s polemics for the first time.
Guevara’s provocative writings call on Spanish women to bear the responsibility equally with men for restoring Spain’s power in Europe and elsewhere. The collection also includes examples of Guevara’s shorter writings that exemplify her ability to speak on matters of state, network with dignitaries, and govern family affairs. Witty, ironic, and rhetorically sophisticated, Guevara’s essays provide a fresh perspective on the possibilities for women in the public sphere in seventeenth-century Spain.
Daisy Fried’s third book of poetry is a book of unsettling, unsettled Americans. Fried finds her Americans everywhere, watching Henry Kissinger leave the Louvre, trapped on a Tiber bridge by a crowd of neo-fascist thugs, yearning outside a car detailing garage for a car lit underneath by neon lavender, riding the train with Princeton seniors who have been rejected by recession-bound Wall Street, feeding stray cats drunk at midnight, bitching at her mother in the labor room, shopping with wide-bodied hunters for deer-dismembering band saws in the world’s largest supplier of seasonal camouflage, cursing her cell phone and husband at eighty-five miles an hour, hiding behind the mask of an advice column to proclaim Charles Bukowski “America’s greatest poetess.” There is nothing like this book, because there is nothing in it but America. No comfort, no consolation, no life-affirming pats on the back, no despair about God, no fear or acceptance of death, no irrational exuberance, no guilt or weariness, no misery even in the middle of personal and political crisis. Plenty of humor and plenty of seriousness. Joy. And a new kind of poetry: not nice, but rich and real.