THE IRONY TOWER

SOVIET ARTISTS IN A TIME OF GLASNOST

An appealing if rather breathless account of double discoveries: that of London-based American journalist Solomon, who goes to Gorbachev's Moscow and finds a world of vicious deprivation and impenetrable strangeness; and that of the artists he meets along the way, whose long struggle against isolation and obscurity is rewarded with a sudden fame that brings its own disorientation. Solomon first visited the Soviet Union in 1988, when he was sent by a British magazine to cover Sotheby's Sale of Contemporary and Avant-Garde Soviet Art. His expectations were initially modest—'I was determined to visit the U.S.S.R. and thought the Sotheby's sale sounded an ideal opportunity''—but he managed to befriend quite a few of the artists involved, and followed their careers from London after his return. Eventually he helped them travel to Europe and America to exhibit their work, and in 1989 he went to stay with them for some months in Moscow as they prepared a giant exhibition of Soviet and German art. Solomon writes in a leisurely, anecdotal style that makes room for the many different stories comprising this tale: the larger portrait of the various movements and schools of postwar Soviet art, the political and historical forces (culminating in perestroika) that simultaneously resisted and engendered such art, and the (often horrendous) experiences of the artists themselves. The tone is compassionate and engaging throughout and manages to bring the opinions of the author into play without overwhelming the narrative. Thus the frequent digressions—on the nature of creativity, the Russian character, the experience of exile—serve to add depth rather than blur the focus. A good deal less attention might have been paid to the various fetes and soirÇes of the art world, but no doubt some will find them amusing. Timely and enjoyable: a rich collage of personality and adventure.

Pub Date: June 14, 1991

ISBN: 0-394-58513-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1991

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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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