A highly readable, illuminating look at the many ramifications of feeding the hungry in hard times.

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A SQUARE MEAL

A CULINARY HISTORY OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION

A history of the struggle to put food on American tables during the Great Depression.

“Food, like language, is always in motion, propelled by the same events that fill our history books,” write culinary experts Coe (Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States, 2009) and Ziegelman (97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement, 2010). By using food as a unifying theme, the authors give a fresh slant to the familiar but complicated history of one of America’s most difficult eras. They deftly connect food to science, technology, and commerce as well as political, cultural, and social movements, assembling a thought-provoking mix of personal stories, statistics, and historical events. After the 1929 crash, President Herbert Hoover claimed “business was on sound footing” while New York City breadlines served 85,000 meals per day to the destitute from all levels of society. A domino effect of unemployment and hunger spread across the nation, exacerbated by droughts and floods. “The poor and how they should be treated,” and who is “deserving” and “undeserving” in the hierarchy of food distribution were questions that were part of a national conversation that resonates today. The fear that providing food for the hungry would destroy any incentive to work hindered relief efforts as presidents Hoover and Roosevelt approached the juggernaut of feeding a nation from opposite ends of the political spectrum. As jobs and farms dried up, people were on the move looking for work and sustenance. Menus, recipes, and first-person accounts of folks struggling to get a meal put readers at the heart of the crisis. Among the heroes was an army of professional women from the Bureau of Home Economics who sallied forth armed with budgetary and nutritional advice, determined to educate masses of women on cooking methods, low-cost balanced diets, gardening, and new kitchen technology. Their efforts influenced the culinary arts for decades to come.

A highly readable, illuminating look at the many ramifications of feeding the hungry in hard times.

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-221641-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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