A reverent but uneven effort of biographical portraiture.




In a brief, debut biography, Howland presents the history of lifelong Californian Bill Magladry, a doctor, outdoorsman, horse rider, and skeet shooter.

The author traces the Magladry line all the way back to Scotland, but his subject was born on a ranch in Modesto, California, in 1923. The bank repossessed that land during the Great Depression, but Magladry’s father had employment as a fish planter for the Department of Patrol. A long “monograph about fish planting” follows, which the younger Magladry wrote later. Howland mentions that Magladry helped develop photos for photographer Ansel Adams, and also frequently brings up John Muir, the Scottish-born naturalist and pioneer of American environmentalism who was Magladry’s idol. Some stories demonstrate Magladry’s pursuit of sportsman activities, as when he became a member of the Fort Ord Skeet Team, but others are less flattering; for instance, on a trip to Scotland, he took over a tour guide’s lecture on John Muir to regale the group with tales of Muir in California. Howland assures readers that “Both the guide and the crowd were quite impressed with Bill’s knowledge,” but who actually enjoys a know-it-all stranger on a guided tour? At times, the information in this book is rich and intriguing. But despite its extensive accounts of Magladry’s wide-ranging life, it often squanders readers’ interest. It aims to be both a biography and an interview, but it simply feels inconsistent, as the biographer often cedes the floor to Magladry for long, quoted stretches. This back-and-forth leads to some confusion between first- and third-person perspectives, and between present and past tense. This could have been a sweeping, panoramic account, but instead it’s a disjointed and shallow grab bag of anecdotes, quotes, and genealogy.

A reverent but uneven effort of biographical portraiture.

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4809-4358-2

Page Count: 68

Publisher: Dorrance Publishing Co.

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2019

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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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