KAYAKING THE VERMILION SEA

EIGHT HUNDRED MILES DOWN THE BAJA

The uneasy but well-crafted story of a long paddle down the Sea of Cortes, from Waterman (In the Shadow of Denali, 1994). At home in Colorado, Waterman feels the moss growing in him. What he and his wife need, he reckons, is some high adventure, out there in a wilderness that still has its fangs. They choose a long kayak sea voyage, the length of the Vermilion Sea, that slender gulf of water between Baja California and mainland Mexico better known as the Sea of Cortes. For fangs, there is a complete gallery of horrors: neurotoxic sea snakes, scorpions, rattlesnakes, giant manta rays, sharks, tarantulas, whirlpools, gales. Also thorny is the relationship he has with his wife, a high-octane affair fired by a competitiveness that doesn't lend itself to smooth sailing. Waterman recounts their two-month voyage in brief chapters, almost like journal entries, the writing unadorned, often coming in small bites: ``Water is churning; an osprey whistles sharply; my face is cold.'' The narrative is larded with pleasant nuggets of natural history arcana concerning both sea life and shore life, and there are deep forays into the unhappy political history of the peninsula (Waterman works a good selection of 16th- to 18th-century writings, culled from Jesuit and Spanish journals, into the book). Perhaps most disturbing of all for Waterman is the environmental degradation of the sea: overfishing, refuse dumping, and denying the Colorado River's freshwater input have trashed this once bounteous gulf, so rich with shrimp, it appeared red—it wasn't called Vermilion Sea for nothing. Full of gloom and doom, but never ponderous. For each downbeat there's an upbeat: an explosion of phosphorescence in the surf, an uncorrupted slice of shoreline, even the occasional relaxed day with his wife. (b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: June 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-684-80242-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1995

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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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