TALKING TO THE GROUND

ONE FAMILY'S JOURNEY ON HORSEBACK ACROSS THE SACRED LAND OF THE NAVAJO

Preston, who followed in Coronado's footsteps in Cities of Gold (1992), feels the itch for another rigorous, horse-borne journey—this time through the sere lands of Navajo reservation— and returns with pungent descriptions and curious encounters. Preston embarks on this journey across the Utah Strip of the Navajo reservation, from Navajo Mountain to Shiprock, at the suggestion of his soon-to-be-wife. It's a chance to knit her daughter more closely to Preston. That seems like a good idea to him, and he is also interested in following the trail of Monster Slayer, the Navajo deity responsible for ridding the earth of the enemy gods. The three undertake the journey at the pace the landscape demands: not exactly a mooch—they have to reach sources of water at least every couple of days—but not much more than a slow poke. They snake their way through a land of rimrock and butte, sandstorm and ungodly hail, a trackless place that still has the feel of wildness about it. This is holy Navajo ground; Preston approaches it with respect, always aware that this is more than just a stupendous piece of scenery (``a landscape of Zen-like emptiness, a great yellow plain bounded by blue mountains''), careful to insert the Navajo creation story and the saga of Monster Slayer into the lay of the land. Gathering together strands of landscape description, regional history, indigenous tales, ruminations on the Anasazi, and his new family's gradual union, Preston braids them into a neatly knotted story. Also woven into the adventure, giving it some needed buoyancy, are a clutch of artful characters the entourage meets en route. Many are Navajo guides required for passing through these parts, but there are also sinister types, mystics, and plain kooks. One tough journey, luminously remembered, pulled off with a combination of flair, grit, and good humor. (16 pages b&w photos, 5 maps, 25 drawings, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: July 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-684-80391-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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IN MY PLACE

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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