SILENT TRAVELERS

GERMS, GENES, AND THE IMMIGRANT MENACE

Fascinating, well-researched account of how immigration and public health have influenced each other in the American experience. Kraut (History/American University; Huddled Masses, etc.— not reviewed) asserts that ``the double helix of health and fear that accompanies immigration continues to mutate, producing malignancies on the culture.'' Current fears about AIDS and Haitian refugees, for example, echo the concern of Californians in the early 1900's over bubonic plague and Chinese immigrants and that of easterners in the 1830's over cholera and Irish immigrants. Kraut examines the nativist prejudices that can stigmatize an entire group as a health menace and shows how scientific medicine has been used by some Americans to advocate exclusion and by others to promote assimilation. Further, he looks at how national, state, and local governments have codified and regulated public-health issues and what the immigrant response has been. Kraut vividly and sympathetically describes the inspection of newcomers at Ellis Island, using both oral history sources and excerpts from the US Public Health Service's Book of Instructions for the Medical Inspection of Immigrants. He demonstrates how health care became a cultural battleground involving the home, the hospital, and the corner drugstore as folk healers and midwives met opposition from physicians and home health nurses, and as quackery thrived. Reliance on Old World remedies—such as tying a potato to the wrist to reduce a fever or using charms to ward off the evil eye—conflicted with the health advice published by such groups as the DAR, eager to turn immigrants into robust Americans. B&w illustrations include photographs that depict actual conditions, as well as drawings that reveal prevalent attitudes and misperceptions.) Absorbing and sobering illumination of a dark corner of the American psyche.

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 1994

ISBN: 0-465-07823-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1993

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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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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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