Naj, a Wall Street Journal writer born and raised in Bengal, travels in Central and South America and the US Southwest in pursuit of pepper specialists and special peppers—all of the hot, capsaicin-endowed varieties known to most of us as chiles. Naj tramps the Andean foothills of Bolivia—a likely candidate for the birthplace of hot peppers—with a botanist seeking the mother of all chiles. He is drawn to the Yucatan by haba§ero, a Mayan staple and the hottest of all peppers. He visits the McIlhenny Company of Avery Island, Louisiana, and digs up ugly controversies surrounding its jealously protected trademark tabasco sauce. He attends a National Pepper Conference in North Carolina, and visits pepper farmers, tasters, breeders (of ``designer chiles''), pathologists, pharmacologists, and enthusiasts in Texas, New Mexico, and elsewhere. Naj's account of all of this goes down easily; and a chapter on peppers' appeal, including speculation on the ``pepper high'' and its possible addictive qualities, has a special interest for the growing cult of North American chile users. His botanical information, though, isn't much help in sorting out the different varieties and names; at times, he seems to toss off peculiar statements of fact without much questioning or trying to reconcile or even cite his sources. Still, an agreeable assemblage of lore and field reportage.
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").
This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)