LINE OF FIRE

DIARY OF AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER

An unusually personal view of World War I’s early days, conveyed by new illustrations grafted to a French soldier’s chance-found diary.

Dated Aug. 3 to Sept. 5, 1914, the anonymous diary tersely records mustering, train rides, weary marches, efforts to scrounge up provisions and billeting, much digging of trenches, and advances and retreats under enemy artillery fire. Aside from occasional thoughts of family left behind, the writer’s observations are detached in tone—even gruesome sights of a human leg caught in a tree and heavily wounded patients in a hospital ward are only noted in passing. Along with portraying how he rescued the account from a pile of curbside rubbish, Barroux illustrates the diary with large panels of heavy-lined drawings made with butcher’s pencil and a pale yellow varnish wash. Most depict somber figures in uniform, drawn with geometrical noses that give them the look of puppets or mannequins, trudging through sheets of rain or sketched rural settings. The diary’s abrupt end leaves the writer wounded but complaining of boredom as he recuperates; the artist closes with sample pages from a handwritten album of songs found with the document. In a passionate introductory note, Michael Morpurgo invites readers to “weep” over these glimpses of war. American children, at least, may not shed many tears, but they should come away feeling closer to understanding what that century-old conflict must have been like to those who fought in it. (Graphic memoir. 11-14)

 

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-907912-39-9

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Phoenix/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Macy wheels out another significant and seldom explored chapter in women’s history.

MOTOR GIRLS

HOW WOMEN TOOK THE WHEEL AND DROVE BOLDLY INTO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Well-documented proof that, when it came to early automobiles, it wasn’t just men who took the wheel.

Despite relentlessly flashy page design that is more distracting than otherwise and a faint typeface sure to induce eyestrain, this companion to Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (2011) chronicles decided shifts in gender attitudes and expectations as it puts women (American women, mostly) behind the wheel in the first decades of the 20th century. Sidebar profiles and features, photos, advertisements, and clippings from contemporary magazines and newspapers festoon a revved-up narrative that is often set in angular blocks for added drama. Along with paying particular attention to women who went on the road to campaign for the vote and drove ambulances and other motor vehicles during World War I, Macy recounts notable speed and endurance races, and she introduces skilled drivers/mechanics such as Alice Ramsey and Joan Newton Cuneo. She also diversifies the predominantly white cast with nods to Madam C.J. Walker, her daughter, A’Lelia (both avid motorists), and the wartime Colored Women’s Motor Corps. An intro by Danica Patrick, checklists of “motoring milestones,” and an extended account of an 1895 race run and won by men do more for the page count than the overall story—but it’s nonetheless a story worth the telling.

Macy wheels out another significant and seldom explored chapter in women’s history. (index, statistics, source notes, annotated reading list) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2697-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Pure gold for readers in search of role models who buck conventional masculine expectations.

GROUNDBREAKING GUYS

40 MEN WHO BECAME GREAT BY DOING GOOD

Single-page profiles of men who were guided by their better angels.

“History books are full of men who have made their mark,” Peters writes. “But these great men were not always good men.” So this atypical gallery focuses on men who served communities, demonstrated real respect for others, or otherwise acted on worthy principles. With one exception, men presented were born in or at least lived into the 20th century. That exception, John Stuart Mill, leads off for his then-radical notions about human (including women’s) rights and the “tyranny of the majority.” The ensuing multiracial, multinational roster mixes the predictable likes of Cesar Chavez, Thích Nhất Hạnh, and Roberto Clemente with Chinese diplomat Feng-Shan Ho (who helped “hundreds, and possibly thousands” of Jews escape Nazi-occupied Vienna), Indian child-labor activist Kailash Satyarthi, Malala Yousafzai’s dad and champion, Ziauddin, transgender activist Kylar W. Broadus, and socially conscious creative artists including Lin-Manuel Miranda and Kendrick Lamar. Though intent on highlighting good works, the author doesn’t shy away from personal details—she identifies six entrants as gay and one, Freddie Mercury, as bisexual—or darker ones, such as Harvey Milk’s assassination and Anthony Bourdain’s suicide. Washington works with a severely limited menu of facial expressions, but each subject in his full-page accompanying portraits radiates confidence and dignity.

Pure gold for readers in search of role models who buck conventional masculine expectations. (source notes) (Collective biography. 11-14)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-52941-9

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more