A solid yet playful tour of the huckster’s world.

READ REVIEW

DUPED

TRUE STORIES OF THE WORLD'S BEST SWINDLERS

Schroeder unfurls eight stellar scams—perpetrated from the Philippines to your Phillips radio—that shook the gullible for all they were worth.

As long as you are not on the receiving end, scams are enormously entertaining. Here readers learn of the Tasaday deception, the 18th-century Shakespeare fraud (with its sad father-son conflict), Orson Welles’ radio hysteria (said Orson: “Every true artist must, in his own way, be a magician, a charlatan”), along with plenty of plain old swindles serving as cautionary tales that we may never learn from, as greed, need and desperation always have the upper hand. What makes Schroeder’s presentation of these bamboozlements so pleasurable—other than the gotcha! factor—is the clarity of his narrative, the unhurried exploration of the dupe and the fact that the only things that get hurt here are egos and pocketbooks. He has also chosen the fleecings for their color—of the P.T. Barnum sort—rather than the darker work of Enron or no-bid military contracts. Simard’s accompanying artwork lays out in grayscale the raw bones of the flimflams, driving home the salient moments when the ruse worked and then when things went south.

A solid yet playful tour of the huckster’s world. (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-55451-351-2

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for...

TWO MEN AND A CAR

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, AL CAPONE, AND A CADILLAC V-8

A custom-built, bulletproof limo links two historical figures who were pre-eminent in more or less different spheres.

Garland admits that a claim that FDR was driven to Congress to deliver his “Day of Infamy” speech in a car that once belonged to Capone rests on shaky evidence. He nonetheless uses the anecdote as a launchpad for twin portraits of contemporaries who occupy unique niches in this country’s history but had little in common. Both were smart, ambitious New Yorkers and were young when their fathers died, but they definitely “headed in opposite directions.” As he fills his biographical sketches with standard-issue facts and has disappointingly little to say about the car itself (which was commissioned by Capone in 1928 and still survives), this outing seems largely intended to be a vehicle for the dark, heavy illustrations. These are done in muted hues with densely scratched surfaces and angled so that the two men, the period backgrounds against which they are posed, and the car have monumental looks. It’s a reach to bill this, as the author does, a “story about America,” but it does at least offer a study in contrasts featuring two of America’s most renowned citizens. Most of the human figures are white in the art, but some group scenes include a few with darker skin.

The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for thought. (timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-88448-620-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Occasionally mannered but heartfelt throughout and indisputably timely.

HER RIGHT FOOT

Everyone knows what the Statue of Liberty stands for—but, as Eggers notes, she’s not actually “standing” at all.

Taking his time, as usual, at getting to the point, Eggers opens with the often told tale of the monument’s origins, preliminary construction, deconstruction, and shipping to “a city called New York, which is in a state also called New York.” He describes the statue’s main features, from crown to gown (“a very heavy kind of garment,” likely to cause “serious lower back issues”)—and points out that her right heel is not planted but lifted. What does this signify? That “…she is walking! This 150 foot woman is on the go!” She’s stepping out into the harbor, he suggests, to give new arrivals from Italy and Norway, Cambodia and Estonia, Syrians, Liberians, and all who have or will come an eager welcome. After all, he writes, she’s an immigrant too, and: “She is not content to wait.” In Harris’ ink-and–construction-paper collages, Parisian street scenes give way to close-up views of the brown (later green) ambulatory statue, alternating with galleries of those arrivals and their descendants, who are all united in their very diversity of age, sex, dress, and skin color. Photos, including one of the Emma Lazarus poem, cap this urgent defense of our “Golden Door.”

Occasionally mannered but heartfelt throughout and indisputably timely. (bibliography, source list) (Picture book. 9-13, adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-6281-2

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more