In a solid, factual chronicle, Cox (Mark Twain, 1995, etc.) retells the story of the American Revolution; he doesn’t change or challenge what occurred but includes many of the details most history books have left out. Over 5,000 black men contributed to the country’s cause for independence, despite the slavery and racism the land offered them. The broad scope of the work allows for only brief portraits of the brave men who are highlighted, from Crispus Attucks, who was first to die at the Boston Massacre, to Prince Whipple, who accompanied Washington as he crossed the Delaware, to Pompey Lamb, who was instrumental in Mad Anthony Wayne’s capture of Stony Point. Cox astutely introduces the hypocrisy of a nation who fights for freedom while enslaving others; he also accurately presents the racial attitudes of the time through documents, letters, and speeches. In addition to paying tribute to some overlooked figures, this book also demonstrates why one historical account is never enough to establish the facts, and the surprises to be found in good research. (b&w photos, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-47576-2

Page Count: 182

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1998

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



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

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In a sequel to the well-received I Have Lived a Thousand Years (1997, not reviewed), Bitton-Jackson writes of her life as Elli Friedmann in 1945, when she, her brother, and mother were liberated from Auschwitz and sent back to their former home in Czechoslovakia. Finding only a shell of the place they had known, they struggled to rebuild some semblance of life and waited for the return of Elli’s father. When they realized he was gone for good, their only hope through all their efforts was the prospect of obtaining papers that would allow them to emigrate to America. Through the long years that they waited, Elli found work teaching, and helping other Jews escape to Palestine, a dangerous and illegal undertaking. When they finally arrived in New York City, relatives welcomed them; an epilogue collapses most of the author’s adult life into a few paragraphs so readers will know the directions her life took. Interesting and inspiring, this story makes painfully clear how the fight to survive extended well beyond the war years; the discomforts and obstacles the author faced and articulates in such riveting detail will make readers squirm at the security and ease of their own lives. (Memoir. 12-14)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-689-82026-7

Page Count: 258

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1999

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