Jules Archer David Cort - Essay

David Cort

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

As a crash course in fundamentals, ["The Dictators"] has its distinct virtues, and it gives a net impression of the absolute hell this century has been through. The author has a wonderfully simple point of view: dictators who died poor are better than dictators who died rich. The Communist examples, even Stalin, are given a better image than is the general custom. Mao and Lenin are pretty fine here; Chiang is awful. And so is Ataturk, who was only the salvation of the modern Turkish nation. On the other hand, Franco and Salazar come off better than one would expect. (p. 26)

David Cort, in The New York Times Book Review (© 1968 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission). May 5, 1968.

[The Unpopular Ones is] a book you may agree with and yet not approve of because of its implicit polemic, its explicit parallels with the present. Most of the profiles begin with a dramatic incident—a prosecution which is also a persecution—then recap the subject's life briefly, dwelling in detail only on his divergent ideas and the consequences thereof—for the individual, for his time, for posterity. The last aspect is overstated to the point of insulting the reader: Joseph Palmer went to jail rather than remove his beard, hippies have been harassed for wearing beards, etc. The first three—Roger Williams, Zenger, Paine—are expected choices whose...

(The entire section is 440 words.)