A culinary adventure that’s enhanced by familial and regional histories.



From the Savoring the Olde Ways series , Vol. 1

Bumpus (Recipes for Redemption, 2015, etc.) offers a travelogue packed with history and recipes.

In 2002, the author, a retired American family therapist, set out to discover what has held “European families together.” She found that by “focusing on a family’s favorite foods” in interviews, she could capture not only recipes, but key details of family history. This inspired this first book in a series on French and Italian family traditions and accompanying cuisines. Initially traveling with her husband, Winston, and Josiane Selvage, their French friend who served as their translator, Bumpus first went to Reims to visit their first local hosts, Martine and Jean-Claude Zabeé. In the text, she tours the ancient city and discusses the couple’s favorite foods, offers cooking lessons, and reveals local historical detail. A recipe for spinach tortellini, for example, came from Jean-Claude’s mother, who got it from a neighbor from Italy. The coal mines of the area, Bumpus notes, attracted workers from Italy, Poland, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Germany, transforming the area into a multicultural melting pot. Bumpus takes readers on an engaging tour of France’s northeastern regions, including Champagne, Alsace, and Lorraine, and she highlights the local festivities, customs, and food in each. Over the course of this book, Bumpus’ writing is perspicuous and economical, particularly when she shares conversations with her hosts: “They erupted into loud guffaws again as the invisible memories came crashing into our conversation.” The author’s discussions with locals, which make up a sizable portion of the book, are descriptive and successfully place readers in the midst of the conversations, as in this offhand description as Selvage’s friend Christine Lochert discusses doing laundry with her mother: “ ‘Yes, at a lavoir.’ Christine turned from the stove, rinsed her hands at the sink, and grabbed a hand towel before she continued.” The recipes, too, are enticing and detailed, and the book as a whole should appeal to Francophiles and ambitious cooks.

A culinary adventure that’s enhanced by familial and regional histories.

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63152-549-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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