Blashford-Snell may have come up short on scientific results, but not even a mad dog would challenge him to a sitting...

EAST TO THE AMAZON

A bit of late-high-imperial adventure deep in the wilds of South America, from two English explorers.

Blashford-Snell, our narrator and man in charge, launched the expedition (Snailham participated in its final leg) in May 2001 with two objectives. The first was to determine if a reed boat could navigate its way from the Bolivian coca region to the Atlantic, thus making some sense out of why cocaine was found in the ancient, mummified body of an Egyptian princess. The second was to follow the lure of a lost Incan city, Paititi—“South America has a good tally of such lost cities,” remarks Blashford-Snell in a comment typical of his prose style, which feels like it has been torn from a Victorian adventure story. “ ‘I've been thinking,’ he said when we met him,” begins one characteristic passage. “This was ominous. Oswaldo, often inscrutable and enigmatic, had a penchant for dramatic throwaway observations.” The ensuing capers are strewn with equally appropriate characters: Leopold d'Arenberg, “a prince of the Holy Roman Empire”; Marigold Verity-Dick, a harpist whose “sweet evening recitals had soothed many a savage breast”; and the sinister Austrian Sigfried Trippolt, whose rotten behavior prompts Blashford-Snell to crow, “a highly satisfactory instance of local obstructionism taking on British determination and coming off a poor second.” The expedition didn’t prove anything per se, but the explorers did unearth some important archaeological sites, the medical team performed lots of good works, and some of the conservation studies may bear critical fruit. But it is the swash and buckle of it all that really matters here: tackling a monstrous, murderous set of rapids head on with a reed boat and getting beaten like a gong, keeping an eye skinned for vipers and giant fire ants, or besting the Nazis yet again.

Blashford-Snell may have come up short on scientific results, but not even a mad dog would challenge him to a sitting contest in the noonday sun. (25 color photos)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2004

ISBN: 0-7195-6504-9

Page Count: 238

Publisher: John Murray/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2004

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

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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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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