Sadly, the unmistakable voice of Molly Ivins diminishes and all but vanishes in this last book to bear her name. It is nothing against her collaborator, Lou Dubose, or the book’s detailed recounting of abuses of civil liberties, to say that only the introduction is pure Ivins in the first person. She winningly recounts her fifteen years of going into the constitutional boondocks to speak on behalf of the First Amendment. She takes a last look at the current scene and avers that, were it not for her phlegmatic nature, she would be so freaked out she would be “staging a pitched, shrieking, quivering, hysterical, rolling-on-the-ground, speaking-in-tongues fit.” Well, even a little bit of Molly helps, but there won’t be any more. She died too young, at sixty-two, last January.


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James Boylan is CJR’s founding editor.