A riveting epic that memorably honors the heroes, both human and canine, who pushed themselves to the limit to save others.

THE CRUELEST MILES

THE HEROIC STORY OF DOGS AND MEN IN A RACE AGAINST AN EPIDEMIC

Two cousins debut with an eloquent account of the famous 1925 dash by dog-sled teams to bring diphtheria serum to Nome, Alaska.

Freelance journalist Laney Salisbury and former publishing executive Gay Salisbury seamlessly blend Alaska’s early history and an anthropological survey of Eskimo traditions with a page-turning chronicle of the race to Nome. Once the center of a gold rush, by December 1924 it was a small town on the Bering Sea shut off from the rest of the territory, its only harbor icebound from November until spring, its only line of communication the trails the dog teams used. In December, Dr. Curtis Welch noted an increasing number of illnesses among the local native population as well as the town’s children, suspected diphtheria, and became increasingly alarmed. New supplies of serum had failed to arrive, and he had no laboratory facilities. As children died, and the number of infected rose in late January 1925, Nome’s mayor placed the town under quarantine and issued a nationwide plea for serum. It was located in Anchorage and taken by rail to Nenana, where the first dog team picked it up and began the race across frozen seas and up icy mountains to complete the 674-mile journey to Nome. Both the weather and the terrain proved hostile and capricious: ice floes suddenly broke apart, blizzards blew up, and temperatures dropped. The writers vividly describe the race against time and nature, which attracted national attention, and provide well-rounded portraits of the team leaders and their dogs, especially Balto, the leader of the team that reached Nome first. His statue stands in New York’s Central Park.

A riveting epic that memorably honors the heroes, both human and canine, who pushed themselves to the limit to save others.

Pub Date: June 9, 2003

ISBN: 0-393-01962-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2003

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

NIGHT

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

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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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