THE LETTERS OF BERNARD DEVOTO

Novelist Stegner, who wrote his friend Benny DeVoto's life in The Uneasy Chair, follows up with 148 letters chosen from the many thousands DeVoto dispatched to private people and public figures. Aside from the opening section, called "Self-Scrutiny" by Stegner, the letters generally grapple with ideas (and with not a few idiot correspondents) and are not chosen to expand on the inner life revealed in the biography. They cover Benny's studies of Mark Twain and his dealings with the hopelessly tangled Twain estate, his life as a teacher at Northwestern, Harvard, and Bread Loaf Mountain Writers Conference, his argumentative volleys for over 20 years from "The Easy Chair" column in Harper's, his spats with Sinclair Lewis and Norman Cousins, Van Wyck Brooks, Malcolm Cowley. Also covered are his involvement in the literary life, his work as a historian, his unflagging devotion to conservation of the West and his dedicated support of Adlai Stevenson for President. Stegner tells us DeVoto suffered most of his life from "nervous depressions, migraines, and blind panics" but that whenever he noted these horrors in others he was the first to help. The letters overflow with vitality and reveal him as less of an intemperate jawbeater than a man with a passionate grip on hard facts, capable of change in the face of superior argument. Vehement and lively — for those with some memory of his rambunctious column.

Pub Date: April 11, 1975

ISBN: 0385037066

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1975

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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IN MY PLACE

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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