A winning opening volume in the publisher's new Conservation Leadership series.

A small-town Texan looks back on a life in national politics and conservation.

A writer-in-residence at the Thinking Like a Mountain Foundation in Fort Davis, Texas, Bristol fell in love with America’s national parks while working one youthful summer on a trail crew at Glacier National Park. He then spent years in politics and fundraising gaining the skills and experience that would later allow him to champion the national park system. Growing up in a political family, Bristol came of age in Austin in the “relatively gentle” 1950s. After attending the University of Texas, he joined the young people flocking to the New Frontier in Washington, D.C., where he worked for years as a party activist in the shadows of Hubert Humphrey, Bob Strauss, Lloyd Bentsen and other Democratic figures. In the mid-1970s, Bristol discovered the National Park Foundation, which raises private funds for the parks, and decided he wanted to serve on its board. His eventual appointment, made by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt in 1994, came at a quiet time for the foundation, which had fallen into doldrums in the Reagan era. As Bristol explains, he seized the opportunity to help revitalize the group, attracting significant financial support from corporations and the Rockefeller family. National parks reflect “all the best parts of our democracy,” he writes, revealing the passion that he brought as a consultant to the PBS series The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. He later created the Texas Coalition for Conservation, a nonprofit advocate for the parks of his home state.

A winning opening volume in the publisher's new Conservation Leadership series.

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-60344-762-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Texas A&M Univ.

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012


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



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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