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WOULDN'T BE FITTIN'

A MEMOIR OF CUSTOM AND COSTUME IN THE CHANGING SOUTH

A wandering remembrance that offers astute commentary on the South.

A debut memoir that also reflects on the cultural transformation of the American South during the 20th century.

Haas-Bennett was born in 1927 in Durham, North Carolina, the descendant of old, Southern aristocracy, or as she puts it, “old plantation stock.” By the time of her birth, her family had little money but lived among antique relics of their former wealth—including furniture that they couldn’t afford to replace. Their area of North Carolina hadn’t received too many newcomers since the 1600s, she says, so intermarriage between distant family members was common—the author’s mother and father were fifth cousins. Haas-Bennett sensitively relates how the post-bellum South, in the middle of the 1900s, was experiencing a slow metamorphosis; while many vestiges of the Old South remained—particularly virulent racism, including segregation—there was also a liberal push for integration. She had plenty of occasions to experience this tense dichotomy; for instance, she and her first husband, writer Ben Haas, were threatened by members of the White Citizens Council, a pro-segregation group, when they withheld their support. After graduating from the Richmond Professional Institute College of William and Mary in 1948, the author opened a modest custom costume shop and designed clothes for dolls and debutantes, and this would remain her profession for most of her life. Haas-Bennett’s remembrance—co-authored by her former costume shop employee, debut author Hughes, who provides a prologue—is more anecdotally impressionistic than autobiographically exhaustive. As such, each chapter offers a charming, if meandering, vignette of recollection. The book concludes with a series of short contributions from those who know the author well, including her three sons and several former employees. Much of the Haas-Bennett’s attention is devoted to the idiosyncratic details of her life—which included two marriages and years of living in Austria—and although these reflections are relaxed and pleasant in tone, they’re likely to be of interest mostly to those who know her personally. However, her considerations of the South are remarkably nuanced while addressing its struggle with the legacy of slavery.

A wandering remembrance that offers astute commentary on the South.

Pub Date: May 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-984228-65-9

Page Count: 375

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2018

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THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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NUTCRACKER

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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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