Kotz, Nick 1932–
Kotz, Nick 1932–
(Nathan Kallison Kotz)
Born September 16, 1932, in San Antonio, TX; son of Jacob (a physician) and Tybe Kotz; married Mary Lynn Booth (a freelance writer), August 12, 1960; children: Jack Mitchell. Education: Dartmouth College, A.B., 1955; attended London School of Economics, 1955-56.
Home—Broad Run, VA.
Journalist and writer. Des Moines Register, Des Moines, Iowa, reporter, 1958-64, Washington correspondent, 1964-70; Washington Post, Washington, DC, reporter, beginning 1970. Distinguished adjunct professor, American University School of Communications. Military service: U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, 1956-58; became first lieutenant.
National Press Club, Sigma Delta Chi.
Raymond Clapper Awards, 1966, 1968; Pulitzer Prize for national reporting, 1968; the first Robert Kennedy Memorial Award in journalism, 1969; Olive Branch Award, Editors' Organizing Committee, 1989, for Wild Blue Yonder: Money, Politics, and the B-1 Bomber; National Magazine Award.
Let Them Eat Promises: The Politics of Hunger in America, introduction by George S. McGovern, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1969.
The Unions, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1972.
(With wife, Mary Lynn Kotz) A Passion for Equality: George A. Wiley and the Movement, Norton (New York, NY), 1977.
Wild Blue Yonder: Money, Politics, and the B-1 Bomber, Pantheon (New York, NY), 1988.
Contributor to Look, Harper's, Nation, Progressive, New York Times, Washington Monthly, and other publications.
In Let Them Eat Promises: The Politics of Hunger in America, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nick Kotz "paints an appalling picture of political persiflage, bureaucratic ineptitude and moral obtuseness," stated John Leonard in the New York Times. "His is investigative reportage of the highest order, telling us what we need to know" about how the government has allowed hunger to become widespread in the United States. As Atlantic contributor Edward Weeks observed, Kotz's "well-written, firmly documented, coolly indignant book is too disturbing and too factual to be brushed off as another troublemaker. It strikes at the most persistent mismanagement in our federal system." Leonard further noted: "There isn't an aspect of this ‘dismal story’ that Mr. Kotz neglects," and as a result "his conclusions are compelling."
Kotz conducts a similar investigation in Wild Blue Yonder: Money, Politics, and the B-1 Bomber. In this book, which Washington Post Book World contributor Arthur T. Hadley called "well-researched and superbly documented," Kotz "describes the 20-year gestation of the B-1 bomber, from President Eisenhower's first ‘no,’ through endless crass political maneuvering, to President Reagan's final ‘yes.’" "Apart from its scope and detail," wrote Sheila Tobias in the New York Times Book Review, "the book's strength lies in the subtlety of its argument. By rooting the story of the B-1 in that of its predecessor," the critic continued, the author "gives himself three decades of bomber politics to discuss." Harry G. Summers, Jr., explained in his Los Angeles Times Book Review critique that "Kotz found the fundamental flaw" of the B-1 program "in the very concept of strategic bombing itself." As a result, Summers noted, "in one sense, Kotz's ‘Wild Blue Yonder’ is a history of that campaign [for strategic bombing], a campaign that spanned 30 years and seven Presidents. But in a broader sense, it is an indictment of our entire process for the conception, design, production and deployment of those weapons systems upon which our national security and our survival itself depends." Wild Blue Yonder, wrote Tobias, "is not just another tale of waste, fraud and abuse. Nor does the author merely rail against the military-industrial complex. Mr. Kotz makes clear that bomber politics … is the result of a skew in our economy that has given one sector of the aerospace industry, in collaboration with its military partners, an unhealthy power."
In his 2005 book, Judgment Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Laws That Changed America, Kotz explores the complex relationship between the former President of the United States and the assassinated civil rights leader. In the process, he writes about the African-American civil rights movement beginning in the 1960s and how Johnson and King worked together to create the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Kotz also presents his case that the movement's efforts may have had very different effects, and not necessarily beneficial ones, if it were not for the way these two leaders interacted despite the growing tensions between the two over the Vietnam War near the end of King's life. Vernon Ford, writing in Booklist, commented that the author "traces the synergy of nonviolent civil disobedience with keen political acumen." Writing in the Black Issues Book Review, Lee A. Daniels noted that the book is important "for understanding more … about the course the black freedom struggle … took from the mid-1960s on." A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that Kotz has delivered "a piquant reminder that great social progress occurs when the powerful collaborate rather than joust." Lee C. White, writing in the Recorder, referred to the book as a "compelling story." White went on to write: "Kotz has produced a valuable and very readable rendering of how two widely diverse people contributed to a remarkable legislative achievement. It takes a master storyteller to create a suspenseful narrative when the outcome is known to all."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
America, May 23, 2005, Donals P. Kommers, review of Judgment Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Laws That Changed America, p. 24.
Atlantic, February, 1970, Edward Weeks, review of Let Them Eat Promises: The Politics of Hunger in America.
Black Issues Book Review, March-April, 2005, Lee A. Daniels, review of Judgment Days, p. 54; September-October, 2005, Fred Beauford, "Affirmative Action: 40th Anniversary," p. 42, brief mention of Judgment Days.
Booklist, December 15, 2004, Vernon Ford, review of Judgment Days, p. 694.
Christian Century, October 18, 2005, Leon Howell, review of Judgment Days, p. 53.
Christianity Today, October, 2006, Mark Noll, review of Judgment Days, p. 142.
Esquire, December, 2005, Charles P. Pierce, review of Judgment Days, p. 80.
First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, August-September, 2005, James Nuechterlein, review of Judgment Days, p. 32.
Jet, May 30, 2005, review of Judgment Days, p. 14.
Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2004, review of Judgment Days, p. 1080.
Library Journal, August 1, 1977, James Levin, review of A Passion for Equality: George A. Wiley and the Movement, p. 1633; November 15, 2004, Karl Helicher, review of Judgment Days, and article "Civil Rights Partners," interview with author, pp. 71-72.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, April 17, 1988, Harry G. Summers, Jr., review of Wild Blue Yonder: Money, Politics, and the B-1 Bomber.
Management Review, January, 1973, review of The Unions, p. 71.
National Catholic Reporter, January 21, 2005, Joe Feuerherd, review of Judgment Days, p. 6.
New York Times, January 15, 1970, John Leonard, review of Let Them Eat Promises; February 6, 2005, Samuel G. Freedman, review of Judgment Days.
New York Times Book Review, March 6, 1988, Sheila Tobias, review of Wild Blue Yonder.
Political Science Quarterly, winter, 2005, James H. Meriwether, review of Judgment Days, p. 676.
Publishers Weekly, November 29, 2004, review of Judgment Days, p. 29; January 31, 2005, Dermot McEvoy, "Nick Kotz: Civil Rights Revisited," interview with author, p. 45.
Recorder, August 19, 2005, Lee C. White, review of Judgment Days.
Social Work, May, 1978, Francis P. Purcell, review of A Passion for Equality, pp. 256-257.
Technology and Culture, January, 1990, I.B. Holley, review of Wild Blue Yonder, p. 187.
Washington Post Book World, March 13, 1988, Arthur T. Hadley, review of Wild Blue Yonder.
Nick Kotz Home Page,http://www.nickkotz.com (December 28, 2006).