A blend of oral history, natural history and travelogue that brings an oft-forgotten corner of the West to life.

Royce (Country Miles Are Longer than City Miles, 2006) looks at the glory days of uranium mining in the American West.

The author draws on black-and-white images from a never-before-published 1970s photo essay by photographer Martin about Utah’s uranium mines to takes readers on a journey through the history of uranium mining. The book covers its early days—before the properties of radiation were discovered around the turn of the 20th century—as well as the industry’s heyday in the 1940s, when the demands of the Manhattan Project and the fledgling nuclear industry meant a booming market for every ton of ore the mines could produce. The book includes an oral history from Brenda Migliaccio, the daughter of a prominent mining family, as well as anecdotes from others in the industry. The text is illustrated with evocative images of the mines’ stark environment, and the author describes an engaging world, full of classic Old West characters and a handful of East Coast and European scientists who supplied the theoretical knowledge that made the miners’ finds so valuable. Several times, the author includes a story about a possibly apocryphal visit from Marie Curie, and it’s a tale that’s clearly important to local residents, even if, according to the author, it can’t be confirmed in the historical record. The book would likely have benefited from a stronger edit, as frequent grammatical errors and flowery prose drag down the narrative. The book’s subject, however, is an intriguing and specialized one, and this history will likely find a receptive audience among historians and enthusiasts of the Four Corners region. The author’s passion for his topic, and his desire to see this story told, is evident throughout.

A blend of oral history, natural history and travelogue that brings an oft-forgotten corner of the West to life.

Pub Date: July 9, 2012

ISBN: 978-1477203996

Page Count: 166

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2013


Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

A warts-and-all portrait of the famed techno-entrepreneur—and the warts are nearly beyond counting.

To call Elon Musk (b. 1971) “mercurial” is to undervalue the term; to call him a genius is incorrect. Instead, Musk has a gift for leveraging the genius of others in order to make things work. When they don’t, writes eminent biographer Isaacson, it’s because the notoriously headstrong Musk is so sure of himself that he charges ahead against the advice of others: “He does not like to share power.” In this sharp-edged biography, the author likens Musk to an earlier biographical subject, Steve Jobs. Given Musk’s recent political turn, born of the me-first libertarianism of the very rich, however, Henry Ford also comes to mind. What emerges clearly is that Musk, who may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome (“Empathy did not come naturally”), has nurtured several obsessions for years, apart from a passion for the letter X as both a brand and personal name. He firmly believes that “all requirements should be treated as recommendations”; that it is his destiny to make humankind a multi-planetary civilization through innovations in space travel; that government is generally an impediment and that “the thought police are gaining power”; and that “a maniacal sense of urgency” should guide his businesses. That need for speed has led to undeniable successes in beating schedules and competitors, but it has also wrought disaster: One of the most telling anecdotes in the book concerns Musk’s “demon mode” order to relocate thousands of Twitter servers from Sacramento to Portland at breakneck speed, which trashed big parts of the system for months. To judge by Isaacson’s account, that may have been by design, for Musk’s idea of creative destruction seems to mean mostly chaos.

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9781982181284

Page Count: 688

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023


A straightforward, carefully detailed presentation of how ``fruit comes from flowers,'' from winter's snow-covered buds through pollination and growth to ripening and harvest. Like the text, the illustrations are admirably clear and attractive, including the larger-than-life depiction of the parts of the flower at different stages. An excellent contribution to the solidly useful ``Let's-Read-and-Find-Out-Science'' series. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 1992

ISBN: 0-06-020055-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1991

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