FLIGHT OF THE GIN FIZZ

MIDLIFE AT 4,500 FEET

A deaf editor-writer learns to fly and pilots a Cessna cross- country in a nostalgic search for self and the grass-roots camaraderie that he says is waning in society but still survives in general aviation. Having begun to experience a sort of midlife doldrums, Chicago Sun-Times book-review editor Kisor (What's That Pig Outdoors? A Memoir of Deafness, 1990, etc.) purchased a small 30-year-old Cessna 150 in which he retraced the transcontinental path of a celebrated early aviator, Cal Rodgers. Rodgers was himself a victim of hearing loss when he made the trip, in 1911, in a canvas-covered plane built by the Wright brothers. Eighty-some years later, as the Simpson trial enthralled the world, Kisor barnstormed from airfield to airfield in dogged pursuit of Rodgers's spirit. Telling two stories in one, Kisor intersperses the narrative of his own day-to- day experience with parallel descriptions of Rodgers's travels, which included numerous crashes, emergency landings, and breakdowns. Kisor can't hear, but he can lip-read, and he can speak and thus transmit radio messages. His deafness adds an element of complexity and danger to a journey that, today, is an otherwise fairly mundane exercise, but his own story, by inevitable comparison to Rodgers's, though it does offer some interesting aviation folk, lacks an urgent sense of drama. There's a bit too much description of airport FBO (fixed base operations) facilities and hosts; routine flight plans filed, completed, and closed out; and mostly friendly airport and service-industry personnel whom he meets during frequent stops along his course. For Kisor, a self- described political liberal of conservative behavior and friends, who resists being labeled as handicapped, flying is, ever and always, an exercise of independence. A relaxing armchair entertainment, and an empowering tale for readers who face any kind of physical deficit. (16 pages b&w photos) (Author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 1997

ISBN: 0-465-02425-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1997

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NUTCRACKER

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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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