Lucky us to have Keahey as narrator to the region. He can keep Gissing. (photos, not seen)

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A SWEET AND GLORIOUS LAND

REVISITING THE IONIAN SEA

A crisp travelogue from Salt Lake Tribune reporter Keahey, laced with appealing historical references, that follows the itinerary of a century-old trip made by novelist George Gissing through southern Italy.

At the turn of the century Gissing traveled by steamer, horse cart, and foot round about the heel and toe of Italy. He wrote an account of the trip, By the Ionian Sea, that Keahey suggests is one of the best pieces of travel literature ever published. From the quotes Keahey uses to salt his own journey, it is difficult to understand why: Gissing comes across as dour and petulant. “It disappointed me that I saw no interesting costume; all wore the common, colorless garb of our destroying age,” he complains, declaring that village after village presented him with “a horrible time.” Keahey, on the other hand, is energetic and curious and willing to look the fool in order to explore where his nose tells him he must go. The landscape and its past have their hooks in him. He gets mugged, he suffers the smog of Naples with its too-numerous automobiles and smoking buses, he is hurt by the ragged poverty of the south, but he is also lifted by the land’s sere beauty—its orange and lemon groves, as well as its tangible links to antiquity (for this is a place that knew Hannibal and Pythagoras, Herodotus, Horace, and Strabo). Keahey is a first-class storyteller, calling up grandeur and fabulous historical tableaux from the dust, sunlight, and ruins that stand before him. Italy, Keahey explains, is one of history’s great crossroads, and there is no better testament to that than the Via Appia—the end product of Egyptian and Phonecian surveying, Etruscan and Carthiginian paving, and Greek masonry. It is a road that takes one back in time, as well as to Rome or Taranto.

Lucky us to have Keahey as narrator to the region. He can keep Gissing. (photos, not seen)

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-312-24205-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2000

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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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SLEEPERS

An extraordinary true tale of torment, retribution, and loyalty that's irresistibly readable in spite of its intrusively melodramatic prose. Starting out with calculated, movie-ready anecdotes about his boyhood gang, Carcaterra's memoir takes a hairpin turn into horror and then changes tack once more to relate grippingly what must be one of the most outrageous confidence schemes ever perpetrated. Growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s, former New York Daily News reporter Carcaterra (A Safe Place, 1993) had three close friends with whom he played stickball, bedeviled nuns, and ran errands for the neighborhood Mob boss. All this is recalled through a dripping mist of nostalgia; the streetcorner banter is as stilted and coy as a late Bowery Boys film. But a third of the way in, the story suddenly takes off: In 1967 the four friends seriously injured a man when they more or less unintentionally rolled a hot-dog cart down the steps of a subway entrance. The boys, aged 11 to 14, were packed off to an upstate New York reformatory so brutal it makes Sing Sing sound like Sunnybrook Farm. The guards continually raped and beat them, at one point tossing all of them into solitary confinement, where rats gnawed at their wounds and the menu consisted of oatmeal soaked in urine. Two of Carcaterra's friends were dehumanized by their year upstate, eventually becoming prominent gangsters. In 1980, they happened upon the former guard who had been their principal torturer and shot him dead. The book's stunning denouement concerns the successful plot devised by the author and his third friend, now a Manhattan assistant DA, to free the two killers and to exact revenge against the remaining ex-guards who had scarred their lives so irrevocably. Carcaterra has run a moral and emotional gauntlet, and the resulting book, despite its flaws, is disturbing and hard to forget. (Film rights to Propaganda; author tour)

Pub Date: July 10, 1995

ISBN: 0-345-39606-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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