In his third book Ellis (Bareback!, 1993; Walking the Trail, 1991) sticks with his by now familiar conceit: trekking an arduous path across historical territory to find out the truth about history and himself. His latest hike is unusual, however, in that he chooses to march in the footsteps of the Union general William Tecumseh Shermana ``Yankee devil,'' as five-year-old Alabama-born Ellis was taught, and the general doesn't appear to have reformed much in the author's eyes. He calls him ``firebug'' and describes the Union soldiers as marauding animals and the freed slaves who joined them as a traveling minstrel show/bordello. Ellis's purpose is to discover the South, what it was and what it has become. But his journey across Georgia, from Decatur to Savannah, seems to be more an exercise in self-indulgence and personal vanity than a soul-searching of the South. The people he meets are standard hicks, southern belles, or stock colorful types, like the randy old Goat Man Ellis has admired his whole life for his wandering spirit. The insights Ellis gleans are also generic: Old people bemoan ``the difference between our generation and these new ones coming along''; teenagers are confused. They are also sex objectsthe girls anywaywhom the middle-aged Ellis ogles lecherously. No wonder his much-younger girlfriend, Debi, was worried about his fidelity. He talks about her a lot, too. A little about her voice and figure; mostly about her laudable habit of not wearing underwear, describing intimate moments with all the detailand literary flairof a dime-store romance. What is most disturbing, however, is that for all of Ellis's seeming lack of racial prejudice, he never addresses the question of slavery at all. As far as the reader can tell, Ellis sees nothing positive as having arisen from the war between the states. A long schlepp with a pompous and unenlightening guide.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-385-31182-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1995

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



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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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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