Insofar as the reading level of the book for adults is on a par with this effort—for the most part, only the substance has...

READ REVIEW

THE LAST DAYS OF JESUS

HIS LIFE AND TIMES

This distillation of the best-selling Killing Jesus: A History (2013) retains the original’s melodramatic tone and present-tense narration. Also its political agenda.

The conservative pundit’s account of Jesus’ life and, in brutal detail, death begins with a nonsensically altered title, an arguable claim to presenting a “fact-based book” and, tellingly, a list of “Key Players” (inserted presumably to help young readers keep track of all the names). Like its source, its prose is as purple as can be, often word for word: “There is a power to Jesus’s gait and a steely determination to his gaze.” Harping on “taxes extorted from the people of Judea” as the chief cause of continuing local unrest, the author presents Jewish society as governed with equal force by religious ritual and by the Romans, and he thoroughly demonizes Herod Antipas (“he even looks the part of a true villain”). Alterations for young readers include more illustrations, periodic sidebars, far fewer maps and a streamlining of context so that the focus is squarely on Jesus, with less attention on the historical moment—an unfortunate choice. Assorted notes on 16 various side topics, from a look at Roman roads to the rise of the cross as a Christian symbol, follow. A mix of 19th-century images, photos of ancient sites and artifacts supplement frequent new illustrations (not seen) from Low.

Insofar as the reading level of the book for adults is on a par with this effort—for the most part, only the substance has been simplified—it’s hard to see the value of this iteration. (source list, recommended reading) (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9877-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist.

MAYA LIN

THINKING WITH HER HANDS

One of the world’s most celebrated creators of civic architecture is profiled in this accessible, engaging biography.

Similar in style and format to her Everybody Paints!: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family (2014) and Wideness and Wonder: The Life and Art of Georgia O’Keeffe (2011), Rubin’s well-researched profile examines the career, creative processes, and career milestones of Maya Lin. Rubin discusses at length Lin’s most famous achievement, designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Chinese-American Lin was a reserved college student who entered and won the competition to design and build the memorial. Her youth and ethnicity were subjects of great controversy, and Rubin discusses how Lin fought to ensure her vision of the memorial remained intact. Other notable works by Lin, including the Civil Rights Memorial for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, a library and chapel for the Children’s Defense Fund, the Museum of Chinese in America, and the outdoor Wave Field project are examined but not in as much depth as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Attractively designed, the book is illustrated extensively with color photos and drawings.

An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist. (bibliography, source notes, index) (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0837-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Painstaking, judicious, and by no means exculpatory but with hints of sympathy.

BONNIE AND CLYDE

THE MAKING OF A LEGEND

A portrait of two victims of the Great Depression whose taste for guns and fast cars led to short careers in crime but longer ones as legends.

Blumenthal (Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2016, etc.) makes a determined effort to untangle a mare’s nest of conflicting eyewitness accounts, purple journalism, inaccurate police reports, and self-serving statements from relatives and cohorts of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Though the results sometimes read as dry recitations of names and indistinguishable small towns, she makes perceptive guesses about what drove them and why they have become iconic figures, along with retracing their early lives, two-year crime spree, and subsequent transformations into doomed pop-culture antiheroes. She does not romanticize the duo—giving many of their murder victims faces through individual profiles, for instance, and describing wounds in grisly detail—but does convincingly argue that their crimes and characters (particularly Bonnie’s) were occasionally exaggerated. Blumenthal also wrenchingly portrays the desperation that their displaced, impoverished families must have felt while pointedly showing how an overtaxed, brutal legal system can turn petty offenders into violent ones. A full version of Bonnie’s homespun ballad “The Story of Bonnie and Clyde” and notes on the subsequent lives of significant relatives, accomplices, and lawmen join meaty lists of sources and interviews at the end.

Painstaking, judicious, and by no means exculpatory but with hints of sympathy. (photos, timeline, author’s note, source notes, bibliography, index) (Biography. 12-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47122-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more