An entertaining, informative guidebook to some cool places populated by people to whom attention should be paid.



A tour of the territories of the United States, “those scattered shards of earth and populace that make up our outposts far from the North American continent.”

A peripatetic traveler, Mack (Europe on 5 Wrong Turns a Day: One Man, Eight Countries, One Vintage Travel Guide, 2012, etc.) decided to explore the five populated island augments to the U.S., providing an antic guide to their histories, geography, and economies, not to mention bits of ethnography. The first port of call is Charlotte Amalie, Saint Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which were once Danish and once home to Alexander Hamilton. Today, Mack finds them simultaneously a little dangerous and quite friendly. Thence we go to the sociable city of Pago Pago in American Samoa, which appears to be Middle America in the South Pacific, devout and devoted to football. Guam, which was so strategic during World War II, also evinces echt Americana. The commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands contains forlorn Saipan, which was crucial to victory in the Pacific; there, the author met “many outsiders with big dreams.” It also boasts Banzai Cliff, where Japanese combatants and civilians hurled themselves to their deaths to avoid being captured by American forces. Finally, our guide takes us to bigger and more complex Puerto Rico, with a population of 3.5 million, the site of a wellspring of immigration to the mainland. There, the persistent question remains: statehood, independence, or just forget it? Throughout the deft narrative, Mack presents numerous revealing vignettes of far-flung Yankee civilization, many the results of our experiments with Manifest Destiny over a century ago, when Uncle Sam traveled to Polynesia, Micronesia, and the Caribbean searching for military outposts and a place in world affairs.

An entertaining, informative guidebook to some cool places populated by people to whom attention should be paid.

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-393-24760-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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