Next book


Salutary fare for readers who, like the authors, believe that “we should all know a few basics.” (Nonfiction. 12-15)

A new compendium of helpful skills, projects, puzzles, quotes, historical anecdotes, and other miscellany that add quality to life…if not necessarily length.

“The accumulation of knowledge is one of life’s subtle pleasures,” writes the co-author of The Dangerous Book for Boys (2007), collaborating now with his sons instead of his brother Hal. In that tongue-in-cheek spirit they offer up a fresh array of rewarding reading—beginning with detailed, practical instructions for picking a lock followed by an account of the experiences of Ernest Shackleton that highlights his extraordinary leadership skills. Tucking in well-placed photos or diagrams, they go on to recommend poems to memorize, describe select famous world empires and how to make lasagna, and, just to prove that the title is not mere hyperbole, suggest numerous ways of provoking “Interesting Chemical Reactions” with easily available materials. For what it’s worth, the authors seem to have tested all of these activities themselves, and they add cautionary notes based on their experiences. Many of this import’s U.K.-specific entries have been Americanized, but some, such as how to get a shotgun or wire an electric plug have not and may be of less use (not to say even more “danger”) on this side of the pond. With very rare exceptions the historical incidents, figures, and cultural defaults are white and Eurocentric, but at least girls willing to disdain the title and brave the pervasive male gaze are not specifically discouraged from harvesting what they might.

Salutary fare for readers who, like the authors, believe that “we should all know a few basics.” (Nonfiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-285797-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

Next book



A colorful history of the Univ. of Texas Longhorns football program by Austin sportswriters Maher and Bohls, who help explain the mentality behind the unofficial team slogan, ``Be number one, or be no one.'' The Longhorns won their last national championship in 1969, crowning the glory days of coach Darrell Royal, a legendary figure who led the team to ten Cotton Bowls and never had a losing season in 20 years. Opening the 1990 season under head coach David McWilliams, following a losing 1989 campaign and scandals involving steroids, gambling, and academic snafus, there was little reason for optimism. But a convincing win against Penn State and a close loss to tough Colorado showed promise of better things. Bookend tackles Stan Thomas, 6'6'', 300 lbs., and Chuck Johnson, 6'5'', 275 lbs., brought back memories of yesteryear, when grind-it-out trench warfare was the Longhorns' strong suit. Interspersed with descriptions of the 1990 season are glances back at the Royal years and after, with profiles of athletic director DeLoss Dodds, running back Earl Campbell, ``the perma-pressed [Coach Fred] Akers era,'' and powerful ``Czar'' Frank Erwin, who was chairman of the Board of Regents in the 60's and 70's. Maher and Bohls also examine—and only occasionally soft-pedal—the issues of racism (Royal ``didn't manage to recruit a black to his football team until'' 1969), NCAA recruiting violations, and drug use and other scandals that have plagued college football in recent years. As the Longhorns progress through the 10-1, 1990 season en route to an embarrassing loss to Miami in the Cotton Bowl, there are big wins against rival Oklahoma, Arkansas, TCU, and Houston, amply detailed and analyzed by the authors, who are both fans and critics of the ``whatever it takes'' football philosophy. As much fun as a Texas barbecue, but with its serious side. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 1991

ISBN: 0-312-06305-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1991

Next book



A new convert to the game of football, Oppenheimer (Private Demons, 1988) decided to observe, record, and analyze the daily activity of her son's 1988 Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School team. Like the team's season, the results are mixed. Toby, senior offensive lineman in only his second year, didn't like the idea: ``What seventeen-year-old wants his mother hanging around a locker room?'' The BCC Barons and head coach Pete White, meanwhile, felt there was reason for optimism despite going 5-5 in 1987, their best record in years. ``Win 8 in '88 and go to state!'' was the battle cry. The talent at this ethnically diverse, affluent suburban school included a 300-lb. center, a 5'-6'' Korean linebacker, a swift Jamaican running back, and an assortment of blacks, Asians, and white kids more inclined toward soccer. It wasn't always a comfortable mix. As Oppenheimer follows their progress, she scrutinizes their attitudes toward one another and the coaches, toward winning and losing, their sex lives, and their use of drugs and alcohol. Fighting off her own anxieties—``Zen and the art of football parenting''—about her son, she rarely inserts herself in the picture but allows the boys to speak in their own, often inarticulate, tiresome way: But I'm, like, okay, so I go, and he goes.... There's a disappointing opening game; a racist coach (``black kids...were more arrogant, tougher, meaner''); a bitter, injury-rife, one-point loss to rival Einstein; the boys' cockiness following the homecoming victory; and, finally, the season-ending trouncing at the hands of ``mammoth, untouchable, abandon-all-hope'' Gaithersburg. The annual banquet, despite the 4-6 record, would toast individual achievements and look toward next year. At times self-conscious and shrill (the locker room, ``a place for the ancient rites of grabass'') and at other times perceptive, but Oppenheimer never quite puts it all together. Rather like missing the point after.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-671-68754-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1991

Close Quickview