In this collection of essays, novelist Kingsolver (Pigs in Heaven, 1993, etc.) displays considerable nature-writing talent, punctuated by stretches of smarmy self-reflection and hit-or-miss musings on issues ranging from biological determinism to the Gulf War. Kingsolver was educated as a biologist and is an inveterate traveler (some of these pieces appeared in the New York Times's ""Sophisticated Traveler"" section and elsewhere)—her piquant observations are, therefore, well founded. Her prose is particularly vivid and enticing in those essays where she describes the javelinas, coyotes, and roadrunners that share her desert domain on Tucson's outskirts. A backpacking trip within the crater walls of a massive, extinct Hawaiian volcano and a sojourn in the West African country of Benin make for exciting and colorful travelogues. A nice touch is when she returns with her daughter to the Kentucky countryside of her childhood and visits the forests and riverbanks where she first developed her appreciation of nature. Elsewhere, unfortunately, Kingsolver's writing treks through less attractive regions. Her visit to an abandoned nuclear missile silo launches a tired diatribe against war; her opposition to the US involvement in Iraq is superficially propounded; an essay that begins with a man watching basketball on television evolves into a familiar discussion on sex-role stereotyping, criticism of The Bell Curve, and the male fear of female equality in sports. Kingsolver seriously begs the questions in a discussion on violence in the electronic media versus violence in literature when she avers that researchers ""have known for decades"" that watching violence causes violence. Kingsolver aficionados (and they are praised and petted in this volume) will welcome these writings, but newcomers might reject her serf-righteous chattiness. Mined selectively, however, this will reveal some beautiful gems.

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 1995

ISBN: 0-06-017291-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1995

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



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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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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