Extensive and provocative: This collection will fire in readers the need to head for the hills in all weathers. (20 b&w...

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THE MOUNTAIN WORLD

A LITERARY JOURNEY

Mountains have been everything to people at one time or another—wild and terrifying, comfort and sanctuary— but it is in their transcendence "from our normal modes of being" that McNamee (Blue Mountains Far Away, etc.) chose the material in this broad and powerful collection.

McNamee has divided these essays, poems, songs, myths, and tales up by continent. Each contribution addresses some experience with mountains. Certainly there is a wide sampling of dead white males here, but there is also a sizeable contingent of women writers (Freda du Faur, Mary Austin, Isabella Tree), and McNamee has scoured the available literature to insure that native peoples are represented with telling source material. Ancient Celtic chants to protect highland herds, southern Paiute songs ("The rocks are ringing. They are ringing in the mountains"), and Sikkimese hymns are a welcome counterbalance to the glibness of Mark Twain in the Himalayas: "You can see where the boundaries of three countries come together, some thirty miles away; Thibet is one of them, Nepaul another, and I think Herzegovina was the other." The quality of the contemporary writing is terrific, including Bob Shacochis's purgative ascent of Anatolia's Mount Ararat and the understated recounting of the eruption of an Icelandic volcano by the Lutheran minister of Sandfell, Jon Thorlaksson: "As I stood at the altar, I was sensible of a gentle concussion under my feet." Other pieces describe Henry David Thoreau having his transcendental circuits baked on Mt. Katahdin, Bulgarian folktales (on why all wise men come from Khorosan), and fabulous creation stories from the !Kung, Xan, and Ashanti.

Extensive and provocative: This collection will fire in readers the need to head for the hills in all weathers. (20 b&w line drawings, not seen)

Pub Date: June 6, 2000

ISBN: 0-87156-898-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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SLEEPERS

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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