QUEER HEROES

Save your money.

Fashion blogger Sicardi introduces readers to 52 queer heroes from around the world.

The book’s survey of diverse individuals should be applauded. Commendable ranges of ages, ethnicities, genders, professions, and time periods are covered. However, the book’s downfall begins with the sparseness of information offered about each subject. Each entry includes a name, a date range and birthplace, a few scant paragraphs, a stylized portrait, and nothing else. For example, while the joint entry on Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson covers their friendship and work with homeless LGBTQIAP youth in New York City, it makes no mention of Rivera’s historic 1973 speech regarding homophobia and transphobia within the LGBTQIAP community. That was kind of a big deal. Likewise, David Bowie is praised for his music, but mention of his infamous 1983 Rolling Stone article, in which he identified as heterosexual, is absent. (In fairness, the title could refer to heroes of queer people.) The book’s other major deficit is its disorder. The subjects are arranged arbitrarily, without a table of contents or an index. There is no further reading section and no bibliographies for references. A haphazard two-page glossary exists (thankfully in alphabetical order), but that’s it. The book has some merit as a brief introduction to people readers may not have heard of but doesn’t have the follow-through necessary to lead them to further discoveries.

Save your money. (Biography. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-476-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

THE 25 GREATEST BASEBALL PLAYERS OF ALL TIME

In no particular order and using no set criteria for his selections, veteran sportscaster Berman pays tribute to an arbitrary gallery of baseball stars—all familiar names and, except for the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez, retired from play for decades. Repeatedly taking the stance that statistics are just numbers but then reeling off batting averages, home-run totals, wins (for pitchers) and other data as evidence of greatness, he offers career highlights in a folksy narrative surrounded by photos, side comments and baseball-card–style notes in side boxes. Readers had best come to this with some prior knowledge, since he casually drops terms like “slugging percentage,” “dead ball era” and “barnstorming” without explanation and also presents a notably superficial picture of baseball’s history—placing the sport’s “first half-century” almost entirely in the 1900s, for instance, and condescendingly noting that Jackie Robinson’s skill led Branch Rickey to decide that he “was worthy of becoming the first black player to play in the majors.” The awesome feats of Ruth, Mantle, the Gibsons Bob and Josh, Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb and the rest are always worth a recap—but this one’s strictly minor league. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4022-3886-4

Page Count: 138

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2010

POCAHONTAS

A LIFE IN TWO WORLDS

From the Sterling Biographies series

A spirited biography untangles the accretion of myth and story around Pocahontas and makes clear what little is actually known and what fragments of the historical record are available. The text is rich in illustration and in sidebars (on longhouses, colonial diet, weaponry and so on) that illuminate the central narrative. Whether Pocahontas saved John Smith’s life directly or as part of an elaborate ritual might not matter, argues Jones. Pocahontas and her people were certainly responsible for keeping the English settlement of Jamestown from starvation. Relations between English settlers and Native people were uneasy at best, and the author traces these carefully, relating how Pocahontas was later kidnapped by the British and held for ransom. When none was forthcoming, she was converted both to English ways and the Christian religion, marrying the widower John Rolfe and traveling to England, where Pocahontas saw John Smith once again and died at about the age of 21. An excellent stab at myth busting and capturing the nuances of both the figure and her times. (glossary, bibliography, source notes, index) (Biography. 9-12)

 

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4027-6844-6

Page Count: 124

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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