Richly voiced African-American memoir by Davis (1905-87), a journalist-poet who disappeared in 1948 and became known as the ``mystery poet.'' This memoir has been lovingly edited by John Edgar Tidwell (English/Miami University of Ohio) from a variety of manuscripts put together after Davis's death, and it may be expanded if more of his second volume, That Incredible Waikiki Jungle, is ever found. In the one surviving Waikiki section, included here, Davis describes two trips he made to the mainland, in 1973 and '74, to give poetry readings after having spent 25 years in Hawaii. He found the relaxation of Jim Crow racism and the widespread miscegenation in Atlanta—where he'd edited the Atlanta World in the late 1930's—quite amazing. The two outstanding qualities here are Davis's writing voice, with its throaty, soft cornet style nicely jazzed up with ``broads'' and ``chicks'' and ``foxes,'' and the history of his inferiority complex, which was too deep to overcome psychically, although socially he found himself free and equal (for the most part) in Hawaii. Big, tall, and handsome, Davis was often mistaken—even by blacks—for world heavyweight-champion Joe Louis. He first heard the blues in his hometown, Arkansas City, Kansas, ``a yawn town fifty miles south of Wichita, five miles north of Oklahoma, and east and west of nowhere worth remembering,'' where he was often the lone black student in his grade and where he graduated ``magna cum laude in bitterness.'' The blues became his blood, and he became a jazz critic, reporter, and editor for several African-American newspapers and was active in the civil-rights movement. His ``disappearance'' to Hawaii with his white wife in 1948 in no way lessened his activism. A lost reputation rises from the dead and adds a fearless new voice to the black Renaissance. (Fourteen halftones—not seen.)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-299-13500-4

Page Count: 373

Publisher: Univ. of Wisconsin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1992

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 11

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller


The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?