Hard traveling, easier reading.



Dutch journalist van Bergeijk writes of his road trip around the Sahara and into the heart of West Africa.

His mission was to drive a 17-year-old Mercedes Benz 190 Diesel with 136,400 miles on the odometer to Burkina Faso, the landlocked country old timers once called Upper Volta. Many African entrepreneurs are adept at rebuilding automobiles that would be left for dead elsewhere. A lively market exists for the Mercedes, the auto once prayed for by Janis Joplin. Van Bergeijk planned to leave his car, taking a bit of profit, for the benefit of some deserving Burkinabe cab driver. Before the trip, however, there was an educational visit to Bremen and the Benz factory and some tutelage in the art of desert motoring. (Pantyhose can serve as a filter, and don’t forget the sand ladders.) Then, through searing sandstorms and shimmering heat went the intrepid, dusty desert traveler. From Cape Boujdour and Nouadhibou to Nouakchott, following the lead of French writer and aviator Antoine de Saint Exupéry and innocent comic-book avatar Tintin, the author trekked through Mauritania and Senegal to the Ivory Coast and Ghana. He encountered hustling officials, fraudulent guides, happy brigands, touring druggies and some “groovy” folk. Africa seemed a land of much sand and many bribes, both quite natural and lingering, along with cell phones, an occasional Internet café and endemic poverty. The romance of the desert may have faded since the advent of the motor car, but the inherent native penchant for patience and the avoidance of pressure remains. Despite the cultural chasm, bad brakes and broken shocks, the car, which may actually have clocked nearly 300,000 miles, was sold to a dealer.

Hard traveling, easier reading.

Pub Date: July 15, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-7679-2869-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Broadway

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2008

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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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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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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