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

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. 5, 2019

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GIVE ME LIBERTY!

THE STORY OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

If Freedman wrote the history textbooks, we would have many more historians. Beginning with an engrossing description of the Boston Tea Party in 1773, he brings the reader the lives of the American colonists and the events leading up to the break with England. The narrative approach to history reads like a good story, yet Freedman tucks in the data that give depth to it. The inclusion of all the people who lived during those times and the roles they played, whether small or large are acknowledged with dignity. The story moves backwards from the Boston Tea Party to the beginning of the European settlement of what they called the New World, and then proceeds chronologically to the signing of the Declaration. “Your Rights and Mine” traces the influence of the document from its inception to the present ending with Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. The full text of the Declaration and a reproduction of the original are included. A chronology of events and an index are helpful to the young researcher. Another interesting feature is “Visiting the Declaration of Independence.” It contains a short review of what happened to the document in the years after it was written, a useful Web site, and a description of how it is displayed and protected today at the National Archives building in Washington, D.C. Illustrations from the period add interest and detail. An excellent addition to the American history collection and an engrossing read. (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-8234-1448-5

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2000

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VAQUEROS

AMERICA’S FIRST COWBOYS

Logically pointing out that the American cowboy archetype didn’t spring up from nowhere, Sandler, author of Cowboys (1994) and other volumes in the superficial, if luxuriously illustrated, “Library of Congress Book” series, looks back over 400 years of cattle tending in North America. His coverage ranges from the livestock carried on Columbus’s second voyage to today’s herding-by-helicopter operations. Here, too, the generous array of dramatic early prints, paintings, and photos are more likely to capture readers’ imaginations than the generality-ridden text. But among his vague comments about the characters, values, and culture passed by Mexican vaqueros to later arrivals from the Eastern US, Sadler intersperses nods to the gauchos, llaneros, and other South American “cowmen,” plus the paniolos of Hawaii, and the renowned African-American cowboys. He also decries the role film and popular literature have played in suppressing the vaqueros’ place in the history of the American West. He tackles an uncommon topic, and will broaden the historical perspective of many young cowboy fans, but his glance at modern vaqueros seems to stop at this country’s borders. Young readers will get a far more detailed, vivid picture of vaquero life and work from the cowboy classics in his annotated bibliography. (Notes, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2001

ISBN: 0-8050-6019-7

Page Count: 116

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2000

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