All this from an author who admits, “I am a chicken historian who does not actually like eating chicken,” but who finds the...



In her first book, a food historian with a feature writer’s flair illuminates the culinary history of the now-ubiquitous chicken.

Though the chicken would seem to be a subject that everybody knows about, Rude makes the humble bird’s story fresh and interesting on nearly every page. “Painted in broad strokes,” writes the author in the introduction, “this is a story of agricultural science and human health, of the economics of feeding a nation and the politics that encircle the making and eating of a food. But on a more intimate level, this is really just the story of dinner.” From chicken soup to chicken nuggets and from “chicken” as a synonym for coward to “a chicken in every pot” as a campaign slogan for prosperity, Rude covers chicken from practically every possible angle and perspective, showing how the bird that was once used mainly for its eggs and feathers now outdistances beef and pork (the “Other White Meat”) in American preference and how it has gone from a high-priced extravagance to a mass-produced bargain. Readers will learn about the 1920s “great Chicken Wars” that rivaled bootlegging in their bloodshed, about the “millions of mail-order chicks” delivered by the postal service, and about the development of “chicken eyewear” and even contact lenses to prevent the birds from pecking each other to death. There’s an unsung hero in Robert Baker, the “poultry savant, a chicken Thomas Edison,” whose legacy extends to the Chicken McNuggets boom, and Rude offers an intriguing analysis of the cross-cultural relationship between Colonel Sanders (beloved in China and Japan) and General Tso. There is also a more serious examination of the “deadly risks” in the mass production of chicken, including E. coli and salmonella.

All this from an author who admits, “I am a chicken historian who does not actually like eating chicken,” but who finds the bird as fascinating as she makes it for readers.

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68177-163-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 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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