Cogent reminders that armed rebellion isn’t the only answer to social injustice.

RAISE YOUR VOICE

12 PROTESTS THAT SHAPED AMERICA

In tribute to this country’s long tradition of grassroots protests, a dozen significant clashes.

Opening with a claim that we humans are “hardwired” to respond with disgust to anything seen as “fundamentally unfair,” Kluger offers a roster of flash points—most of which marked change rather than directly causing it but all milestones in the annals of American social discourse and attitudes. Some, such as Stonewall, were more or less spontaneous uprisings; others, from the March on Washington in 1963 to the 2017 Women’s March, were carefully (if sometimes hastily) orchestrated. Likewise, if the Seneca Falls convention and 1982’s immense anti-nuke rally in New York were (relatively) peaceful, aggressive police responses made the demonstrations outside the Democratic National Convention in 1968 and the Dakota Access uprising in 2016-17 anything but. Unfortunately, Kluger never explains that in framing his account of the Dakota Access Pipeline resistance as one battle in a centurieslong struggle of the “Great Sioux Nation” against a mythic “black snake,” he is not contriving a metaphor but paraphrasing Native American protesters’ statements. Nevertheless, in every case he expertly brushes in historical contexts and properly notes that not every proud “liberation tale” here resulted in unqualified, or even partial, success. Photos at each chapter head not seen.

Cogent reminders that armed rebellion isn’t the only answer to social injustice. (source note, index) (Nonfiction. 10-16)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-51830-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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An outstanding case study in how science is actually done: funny, nuanced, and perceptive.

THE FIRST DINOSAUR

HOW SCIENCE SOLVED THE GREATEST MYSTERY ON EARTH

How does a new, truly revolutionary idea become established scientific fact?

Lendler spins his account of how the awesome age and significance of fossils came to be understood into a grand yarn that begins 168 million years ago. He fast-forwards to 1676 and the first recorded fossil fragment of what was later named Megalosaurus and builds on the premise of “The Blind Men and the Elephant” to trace the ensuing, incremental accretion of stunning evidence over the next two centuries that the Earth is far older than the Bible seems to suggest and was once populated by creatures that no longer exist. It’s a story that abounds in smart, colorful characters including Mary Anning, Richard Owen (a brilliant scholar but “a horrible human being”), and Gideon Mantell, “a dude who really, really loved fossils.” Along the way the author fills readers in on coprolites (“the proof was in the pooing”), highlights the importance of recording discoveries, and explains how the tentative suggestion that certain fossils might have come from members of the “Lizard Tribe” morphed into the settled concept of “dinosaur.” Though he tells a Eurocentric tale, the author incorporates references to sexism and class preconceptions into his picture of scientific progress. Butzer’s illustrations add decorative and, sometimes, comical notes to sheaves of side notes, quotations, charts, maps, and period portraits and images.

An outstanding case study in how science is actually done: funny, nuanced, and perceptive. (bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2700-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for...

TWO MEN AND A CAR

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, AL CAPONE, AND A CADILLAC V-8

A custom-built, bulletproof limo links two historical figures who were pre-eminent in more or less different spheres.

Garland admits that a claim that FDR was driven to Congress to deliver his “Day of Infamy” speech in a car that once belonged to Capone rests on shaky evidence. He nonetheless uses the anecdote as a launchpad for twin portraits of contemporaries who occupy unique niches in this country’s history but had little in common. Both were smart, ambitious New Yorkers and were young when their fathers died, but they definitely “headed in opposite directions.” As he fills his biographical sketches with standard-issue facts and has disappointingly little to say about the car itself (which was commissioned by Capone in 1928 and still survives), this outing seems largely intended to be a vehicle for the dark, heavy illustrations. These are done in muted hues with densely scratched surfaces and angled so that the two men, the period backgrounds against which they are posed, and the car have monumental looks. It’s a reach to bill this, as the author does, a “story about America,” but it does at least offer a study in contrasts featuring two of America’s most renowned citizens. Most of the human figures are white in the art, but some group scenes include a few with darker skin.

The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for thought. (timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-88448-620-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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