Books by Della A. Yannuzzi

Released: April 1, 1996

Yannuzzi (Wilma Mankiller, 1994, not reviewed), awkwardly rehashing information better handled by one of her sources—Mary Lyons's Sorrow's Kitchen (1993)—seldom peeks below the surface of Hurston's checkered literary career and notably unstable private life. A luminary of the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston later became an enthusiastic collector of African-American tales, lore, and cultural practices—but, unable to hold on to money, friends, husbands, or benefactors, died in poverty and remained almost forgotten until the mid-1970s. Through a selection of telling incidents and brief quoted comments, Hurston's intelligence and strong personality come across, but her written work is passed over virtually unassessed in a dry recitation of titles and content summaries that reads like CIP notes. Yannuzzi does not explain how an author supposedly endowed with ``a big talent and a strong will to succeed'' met with such mixed reviews and produced so many rejected manuscripts; readers will come away with only vague ideas of the quality of Hurston's thought or writing. This may be more detailed than Patricia McKissack's shorter Zora Neale Hurston, Writer and Storyteller (1992), but it offers no further insight. (b&w photos, chronology, notes, bibliography, glossary, index) (Biography. 10-12) Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1994

Chief Wilma Mankiller was born a Tahlequah, Okla., farm girl in 1945. Although they were poor, the Mankillers were happy in the heart of the Cherokee nation until a couple of bad harvests in a row made them seek government aid. Offered help only if they relocated to a big city, they chose San Francisco. In San Francisco, Mankiller faced racial hatred as well as the shocking change from rural to urban life. She was unhappy, but eventually adapted—with the help of a loving grandmother who took her in for a year and a father who believed in maintaining strong ties with the Cherokee culture. Mankiller graduated high school, worked briefly, and then married. She had two children and was a housewife and mother until she decided to go to college. There the women's and Indian rights movements sparked her interest in helping her people. She and her husband eventually divorced, and Mankiller moved with her daughters back to Oklahoma. She worked to help Indian communities and eventually became first deputy chief and finally principal chief of the Cherokees. As chief she has worked hard to promote financial independence and self-determination for her nation. Newcomer Yannuzzi offers a fine biography of an amazing woman who, despite constant health troubles and harsh discrimination, leads the Cherokee nation toward an increasingly hopeful future. (Chronology; notes; further reading; index; b&w photos) (Biography. 11+) Read full book review >