An emphasis on character over events gives this some appeal to readers on both sides of the political…wall.

READ REVIEW

JOHN MCCAIN

AN AMERICAN HERO

Admiring portrait of the late war hero, politician, and presidential candidate.

Although she begins by quoting his doting grandpa (“that boy has the stamp of nobility on his brow”), Gormley largely steers clear of outright hagiography. After recounting “Johnny” McCain’s family history and some youthful wobbles, she describes in some detail his years as a horrifically injured and mistreated prisoner of the North Vietnamese. Following his return, a “habit of moving forward, always forward in life” propelled him into politics as an outspoken “maverick,” with an irritating (to his colleagues) tendency to value principles over expediency. His marriages and children receive less mention than the rises and falls of his political fortunes or the details of his legislative work on campaign finance reform and other initiatives on the way to becoming a rare, if not always raised, voice of dissent in the Senate during President Donald Trump’s administration. Many readers may find his hawkish views on foreign policy hard to stomach and rightly view the author’s efforts to make him seem almost an ally of President Barack Obama’s with skepticism. Still, his achievements, as well as his undeniable personal and political courage, make him a notable figure. The profile concludes just prior to his death in August 2018 before closing with a detailed timeline and a large list of sources—but, oddly, no index (nor are there any illustrations).

An emphasis on character over events gives this some appeal to readers on both sides of the political…wall. (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4386-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If readers can make sense of this story, they’re likely able to tackle the original instead.

THE PERFECT HORSE

THE DARING RESCUE OF HORSES KIDNAPPED DURING WORLD WAR II

Letts adapts her bestselling 2016 work of the same title for young readers.

As World War II sweeps across Europe, the fates of several master horsemen become entwined. In Poland, Andrzej Kristalovich, head of the national stud farm, sees his life’s work disappear when Russian soldiers capture his horses. Nazi Germans, invading next, restore some of the animals in order to breed them for the Third Reich. Meanwhile, in Vienna, Olympic medalist Alois Podhajsky is desperately trying to care for the Lipizzan stallions at the famed Spanish Riding School even as the invading Germans capture the Lipizzan stud farms and move most of the horses to Czechoslovakia. Meanwhile, at an American Army base in Kansas, Maj. Hank Reed is overseeing the cavalry’s transition from horses, no longer useful in warfare, to mechanized vehicles. These threads come together at the end of the war when Reed orchestrates a complex rescue of both sets of horses. This is not a particularly successful adaptation. It’s shorter than the original, but both the storyline and timeline are fragmented, making it difficult for the putative audience of 8- to 12-year-olds to follow, and extraneous details fail to advance the main narrative. Aside from a map and archival images (both not seen), there is no timeline or other visual aid to help organize the narrative. Characters are all white.

If readers can make sense of this story, they’re likely able to tackle the original instead. (author’s note, characters, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-64474-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE CIVIL WAR AT SEA

In this companion to Portraits of War: Civil War Photographers and Their Work (1998), Sullivan presents an album of the prominent ships and men who fought on both sides, matched to an engrossing account of the war's progress: at sea, on the Mississippi, and along the South's well-defended coastline. In his view, the issue never was in doubt, for though the Confederacy fought back with innovative ironclads, sleek blockade runners, well-armed commerce raiders, and sturdy fortifications, from the earliest stages the North was able to seal off, and then take, one major southern port after another. The photos, many of which were made from fragile glass plates whose survival seems near-miraculous, are drawn from private as well as public collections, and some have never been published before. There aren't any action shots, since mid-19th-century photography required very long exposure times, but the author compensates with contemporary prints, plus crisp battle accounts, lucid strategic overviews, and descriptions of the technological developments that, by war's end, gave this country a world-class navy. He also profiles the careers of Matthew Brady and several less well-known photographers, adding another level of interest to a multi-stranded survey. (source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7613-1553-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Millbrook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more