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Bayard Rustin: Troubles I've Seen: A Biography
By Jervis Anderson
(HarperCollins, 418 pages, $30)
Besides being a brilliant political strategist and organizer, Bayard Rustin was one of the civil rights movement's most vivid and original personalities. A close aide to Martin Luther King, Rustin played a pivotal role in mobilizing the American conscience against Jim Crow. By the time of his death in 1987 at the age of 75, however, Rustin was reviled by much of the civil rights establishment, and today he is nearly forgotten. Fortunately, New Yorker magazine staff writer Jervis Anderson's admirable biography of Rustin brings the old fighter to life. It also offers a succinct history of the civil rights movement's rise and fall.
All The President's Men
Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward,
(Simon & Schuster, $8.95)
At one point in the story of how two reporters for the Washington Post covered the Watergate story and broke much new ground in it,the following lines occur: "They had not broken the law... that much seemed certain. But they had sailed around it and exposed others to danger. They had chosen expediency over principle and, caught in their act, their role had been covered up. They had dodged, evaded, misrepresented, suggested, and intimidated, even if they had not lied outright."
Those sentences do not refer to Richard Nixon or Ron Ziegler. Bernstein and Woodward are referring to themselves. And in those words, and in one additional word, is the secret of their phenomenal success—chutzpah is the additional word.
Chutzpah is defined as that quality which allows a person who has just killed his parents to throw himself on the mercy of the court and ask for leniency as an orphan.