Gill is that rare critic who actually has something relevant and profound to say about every place he visits. Highly...

PREVIOUS CONVICTIONS

ASSIGNMENTS FROM HERE AND THERE

Vanity Fair contributing editor Gill (The Angry Island: Hunting the English, 2007, etc.) returns with another stellar collection of dispatches from across the globe.

As he noted in A.A. Gill is Away (2005), when on assignment the author follows a few hard and fast rules: Don’t conduct research before traveling; don’t stay too long; don’t take notes. Fortunately for readers, Gill is blessed with a remarkable memory and a consistently engaging style of equal parts acid wit and tender poignancy. His latest collection is divided into two sections. The first includes travel writing about his native United Kingdom and other assorted critical essays. The highlight of this section is without a doubt “Golf,” the author’s tirade against the staid sport (“Golf is the standard bearer and pimp for the worst types of gratuitously wasteful capitalism and conspicuous consumption”) and his attempt to understand its appeal. Gill also offers pointed commentary on dogs, hunting, drama, photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson (who he considers an “unequivocal, unarguable” genius) and the pitfalls of life-drawing class (“His haggis stomach rested on his thighs. Underneath drooped a penis of supreme ugliness, a Quasimodo todger, bent double, shouldering the weight of a voluminous, rucksack scrotum”). The second half of the book chronicles his far-flung travels, from the crushing poverty of Haiti to the “feathers and buttocks, the pantomime and the pumping rhythm” of Brazil. Gill also ponders his first trip into the South African bush country; the “inversion of noise, the ghost of sound” he finds in freezing Greenland; refugees in Sudan and Pakistan (“they have that faraway, defeated, listless look of the universal brotherhood of refugees, people tossed out by events”); the peculiar exercise regimens of Manhattanites; the buff, oiled-up homosexual haven of Mykonos (for the record, the author is straight); and the mechanical glitz of Las Vegas, “where irony just curls up and dies.”

Gill is that rare critic who actually has something relevant and profound to say about every place he visits. Highly recommended.

Pub Date: June 10, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4165-7249-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2008

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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