Should attract aspiring adventurers.



After showcasing risk-taking gals in Women Daredevils (2007), Cummins introduces 10 “dauntless” women born before 1900 whose little-known deeds “contribut[ed] to science, geography, history, and cultural understanding” at a time when “proper ladies simply did not go gallivanting around the world to explore new territories.”

Starting with Louise Boyd, who traded stylish dresses for boots and breeches to explore the Arctic, and closing with Daisy Bates, who studied Australian Aborigines for 35 years, Cummins presents breezy three-to-four–page biographies of her unconventional females. The variety of their endeavors astound. Nellie Cashman “rushed” for gold in British Columbia, the Klondike and Alaska; botanist Ynes Mexia collected thousands of plants in the wilderness of Mexico, the United States and the Amazon; Lucy Cheesman sojourned with cannibals while studying insects in the South Pacific. Suffragist Annie Peck scaled Europe and South America’s highest peaks. Dutch heiress Alexandrine Tinné searched for the Nile’s source and was murdered traversing the Sahara. Delia Akeley became the first woman to cross Africa. Violet Cressy-Marcks made eight trips around the world, and Freya Stark traveled throughout the Middle East. In an engaging, informative style, Cummins highlights fascinating facts about these feisty females “who conquered the unknown.” Dramatic watercolor illustrations memorialize each.

Should attract aspiring adventurers. (author’s note and list of additional female explorers; selected bibliography, websites) (Collective biography. 9-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3713-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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Nothing to roar over but a pleaser for fans of all things big, toothy, and extinct.



An illustrated overview of life’s history on Earth, moving backward from now to its beginnings 3.5 billion years ago.

Zoehfeld begins with the present epoch, using the unofficial Anthropocene moniker, then skips back 12,000 years to the beginning of the Holocene and so back by periods to the Ediacaran and its predecessors, with pauses along the way to marvel at the widespread End-Cretaceous and End-Permian extinctions. Along with offering general observations about each time’s climate and distinctive biota, she occasionally veers off for glances at climate change, food webs, or other tangential topics. In each chapter she also identifies several creatures of the era that Csotonyi illustrates, usually but not always with photographic precision in scenes that are long on action but mostly light on visible consumption or gore. If some of the landscape views are on the small side, they do feature arresting portraits of, for instance, a crocodilian Smilosuchus that seems to be 100% toothy maw and a pair of early rodents resembling fierce, horned guinea pigs dubbed Ceratogaulus. Though largely a gimmick—the chapters are independent, organized internally from early to late, and could be reshuffled into conventional order with little or no adjustment to the narrative—the reverse-time arrangement does afford an unusual angle on just how far deep time extends.

Nothing to roar over but a pleaser for fans of all things big, toothy, and extinct. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-912920-05-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: What on Earth Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Interesting anecdotes mitigate the missed opportunities in this history.



Primary sources enliven this history of the New York state refugee camp that housed nearly 1,000 people displaced by the Nazis.

In 1944, a U.S. Navy ship brings 982 displaced people from Italy to New York’s Fort Ontario in Oswego. The vast majority—874—are Jews, the rest are Christians, and all are refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe. They’re the beneficiaries of a far too limited American program to help some victims of horrific persecution. Augmented by photographs and drawing on first-person accounts and government records, this is a history of European refugees, many of whom are death-camp survivors, who exist in a middle ground between immigrant and prisoner. They’ve signed agreements acknowledging that they’re “guests” who aren’t allowed to work and who’ll be returned to Europe at the war’s end. But it’s still upsetting that they’re confined in the camp. In creating the camp, the War Relocation Authority drew on its expertise in running the Japanese concentration camps (called “internment camps” in the text) in the U.S.; after pointing this out, the history doesn’t ask any of the uncomfortable questions thus raised. The judgment of the government’s treatment of the White (by American standards, if not by German) refugees is mostly positive. A brief introduction to nativism and “America First” policies yields to praise of the friendships between New Yorkers and the refugees. Quoted primary sources aren’t always well-contextualized in the text.

Interesting anecdotes mitigate the missed opportunities in this history. (epilogue, timeline, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64160-383-6

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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