On-pitch reporting documents an inspiring craft.

THE VIOLIN MAKER

FINDING A CENTURIES-OLD TRADITION IN A BROOKLYN WORKSHOP

Reporting on the construction of one particular instrument, musician and journalist Marchese (Renovations, 2001) investigates how a box with strings attached can make such astonishingly beautiful sounds.

Before the eyes of the reporter, Brooklyn-based fiddle-maker Sam Zygmuntowicz, on a commission from violinist Eugene Drucker, fabricates a musical instrument out of spruce, maple, glue and varnish. Tradition is the keynote. Zygmuntowicz works in the centuries-old mode of Cremona’s skilled luthiers, who made the finest stringed instruments of all time. Master Stradivari, it is generally agreed, made the best of them, though to this day, no one seems to know exactly how. His ghost inhabits the workshops of the world’s luthiers. Craftsman Sam competes with old masters in his creation of a violin for Drucker. The author follows him on an edifying adventure from hewn log to work of art. Though Sam adds just a bit of innovation, the construction of the classic sound box, with its bass-bar and bridge, f-holes, fingerboard, scroll, ribs and, of course, its purfling of three layers of wood, has survived industrial revolution essentially unchanged. From start to final coat of varnish, there is no assembly line for the artisans whose professional lives are bounded by legend, myth and politics as much as by acoustic science. Marchese illustrates them all as Master Zygmuntowicz makes Drucker’s violin. Readers will be as eager as the author and the luthier to know if it satisfied the violinist.

On-pitch reporting documents an inspiring craft.

Pub Date: April 2, 2007

ISBN: 0-06-001267-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2007

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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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