Yannuzzi (Wilma Mankiller, 1994, not reviewed), awkwardly rehashing information better handled by one of her sources—Mary Lyons's Sorrow's Kitchen (1993)—seldom peeks below the surface of Hurston's checkered literary career and notably unstable private life. A luminary of the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston later became an enthusiastic collector of African-American tales, lore, and cultural practices—but, unable to hold on to money, friends, husbands, or benefactors, died in poverty and remained almost forgotten until the mid-1970s. Through a selection of telling incidents and brief quoted comments, Hurston's intelligence and strong personality come across, but her written work is passed over virtually unassessed in a dry recitation of titles and content summaries that reads like CIP notes. Yannuzzi does not explain how an author supposedly endowed with ``a big talent and a strong will to succeed'' met with such mixed reviews and produced so many rejected manuscripts; readers will come away with only vague ideas of the quality of Hurston's thought or writing. This may be more detailed than Patricia McKissack's shorter Zora Neale Hurston, Writer and Storyteller (1992), but it offers no further insight. (b&w photos, chronology, notes, bibliography, glossary, index) (Biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-89490-685-2

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Enslow

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1996

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At Home With The Presidents (176 pp.; $12.95; Sept. 24; 0-471-25300-6) Morris offers succinct biographical information and anecdotes about all 41 presidents with brief information about homes they grew up it, historic sites dedicated to them, or libraries in which their artifacts are housed. Included are small pictures of the presidents and some of the buildings discussed. Readers will find the book of limited use for research, since the sources for quotations are not given, there is no index, and material considered controversial is not attributed. Appearing out of context are statements such as “George Washington adored his older brother” and “George’s mother was jealous of the two brother’s relationship.” The information on historic sites is upbeat but bland, and could have come right out of tourist brochures. (b&w photographs, illustrations, further reading) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 1999

ISBN: 0-471-25300-6

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Wiley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1999

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Kostyal has written a tight, bracing biography of the renowned Antarctic explorer, illustrated with dramatic black-and-white photographs. Shackleton, a man whose sense of romance and adventure repeatedly drew him from conventional British society to Antarctica (“that lonely, windswept desert of ice and snow at the bottom of the world”), succeeded neither in reaching the South Pole nor traversing the continent, but he exhibited such remarkable valor that, according to the author, his name has become “synonymous with bravery and endurance.” As usual, there is more about his expeditions than the man, but Kostyal renders the tale in vivid prose that is enhanced by maps, quotes, a timeline and some remarkable photographs. This quality book will be a useful addition in both home and school libraries. (map, chronology, index) (Biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7922-7393-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1999

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