From Lawrence (Six Presidents, Two Many Wars, 1972, etc.): another Great Moments effort, derived from accounts by first explorers of North America, and in particular of the territory that became the US. Although starting with the Norse explorations late in the tenth century, the bulk of Lawrence's patchwork chronicle describes the better-known travels of the 16th and 17th centuries, finally skipping a hundred years to focus on Lewis and Clark's historic journey, which began in 1804. The discoveries of Cartier, Champlain, de Soto, Coronado, and others are dealt with in turn, with landings and significant events carefully noted. Natives receive considerable attention, and pristine forests and the wondrous creatures inhabiting them are also amply detailed, with the reader often invited to consider that these natural riches were subsequently squandered as exploration gave way to settlement and exploitation. The routes of those ventures into the unknown come complete with references to modern cities and interstate highways, so that Henry Hudson sails his Half Moon up the river bearing his name to a landfall in the vicinity of 42nd Street. Western adventures and journeys into the interior also receive attention, but the whole is such a hodgepodge of rehashed journal entries and attempts to relate to America today that only glimpses of the original fascinating experiences remain. Short on style and continuity; of interest only to those for whom history is attractive when eviscerated in general summaries.

Pub Date: July 22, 1991

ISBN: 1-55778-145-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1991



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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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