A balanced yet caring memoir of a year at a racially divided campus. Kreuter served, in academic year 199293, as the interim president of a small college, which she calls Middleton. (The identity of the college, located in Minnesota, will probably be obvious to many observers.) She took on a great deal for one year; not only did the college face a Title IX challenge, possible loss of accreditation, and declining enrollment, but it had also been badly shaken by a racial incident the previous spring. A fight between two students, one black and one white, had drawn some 50 spectators, the angry crowd divided along racial lines. The brawl sparked a flare-up of tensions that had been building for some time. Some black students left campus and did not return, the president resigned, and the news media made much of the scandal. Kreuter arrived with an idealistic sense of her own peacemaking powers. Initially it went well: Black student activists considered her far more responsive to their concerns than her predecessor, and she hired some minority faculty and administrators and set up a multicultural center. But Kreuter could do little to change the racism of the white students or of the Greek system, nor could she calm the black students' justifiable paranoia. In her account, Kreuter sees campus events through a finer lens than do many anti- PC crusaders. She offers sympathetic and critical perspectives on Nation of Islam followers and white small-town Midwesterners alike, and offers a useful social context for Middleton's troubles: Colleges, she notes, are accessible now to many more women, people of color, and working-class people, and thus they are far more subject to the tensions of the outside world. This absorbing account should be of interest to anyone who has followed the campus multiculturalism wars.

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-44700-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1996

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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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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