A pleasing combination of personal essays and reflections, a love story and a naturalist's view of one of the last unspoiled...




Prolific essayist Hoagland (Sex and the River Styx, 2011, etc.) vividly reflects on a time, 30 years ago, when he repeatedly fled his failing second marriage to follow a younger nurse through Alaska.

The nurse was testing the locals for tuberculosis and treating a wide variety of ailments, from injuries resulting from a jet-ski accident to wounds from a bar fight. “At Seattle the business suits scuttled off officiously, to be supplanted by jitterily jean-clad, provisional souls, Alaska-bound roughnecks who looked like hijackers," Hoagland writes of the flights before his adventures. His trips, paid for by assignments from magazine editors, led him to interview the new millionaires making their claim on the state to natives such as Hubert Koonuk, who single-handedly killed 36 polar bears. Like an anthropological study, Hoagland records the details of Koonuk’s traditional life, such as the craftsmanship of his skin boat, which he used for hunting seals and bowhead whales. With the same verve, the author profiles Bob Uchitel, who brought cable TV to the far reaches of the Alaskan wilds following a successful construction company, sponsorship of a prizefighter in the lower 48 and several other profitable businesses, before dying a recluse with a Maserati and Corvette in his garage. Hoagland inserts historical facts about the towns and cities he visited, and he provides plenty of appealing natural descriptions of a wondrous landscape.

A pleasing combination of personal essays and reflections, a love story and a naturalist's view of one of the last unspoiled lands.

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61145-503-8

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Arcade

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

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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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An extraordinary true tale of torment, retribution, and loyalty that's irresistibly readable in spite of its intrusively melodramatic prose. Starting out with calculated, movie-ready anecdotes about his boyhood gang, Carcaterra's memoir takes a hairpin turn into horror and then changes tack once more to relate grippingly what must be one of the most outrageous confidence schemes ever perpetrated. Growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s, former New York Daily News reporter Carcaterra (A Safe Place, 1993) had three close friends with whom he played stickball, bedeviled nuns, and ran errands for the neighborhood Mob boss. All this is recalled through a dripping mist of nostalgia; the streetcorner banter is as stilted and coy as a late Bowery Boys film. But a third of the way in, the story suddenly takes off: In 1967 the four friends seriously injured a man when they more or less unintentionally rolled a hot-dog cart down the steps of a subway entrance. The boys, aged 11 to 14, were packed off to an upstate New York reformatory so brutal it makes Sing Sing sound like Sunnybrook Farm. The guards continually raped and beat them, at one point tossing all of them into solitary confinement, where rats gnawed at their wounds and the menu consisted of oatmeal soaked in urine. Two of Carcaterra's friends were dehumanized by their year upstate, eventually becoming prominent gangsters. In 1980, they happened upon the former guard who had been their principal torturer and shot him dead. The book's stunning denouement concerns the successful plot devised by the author and his third friend, now a Manhattan assistant DA, to free the two killers and to exact revenge against the remaining ex-guards who had scarred their lives so irrevocably. Carcaterra has run a moral and emotional gauntlet, and the resulting book, despite its flaws, is disturbing and hard to forget. (Film rights to Propaganda; author tour)

Pub Date: July 10, 1995

ISBN: 0-345-39606-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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