Possibly the concision and flavor will increase the book's attractiveness to those who need it most, and the list of sources...

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TO BE A SLAVE

From the man who is usually "On the Other Side of the Tracks," a judicious selection of quotations from runaways and emancipated men revealing the texture of the slave experience.

This is not, like Meltzer's In Their Own Words, a history, but the book's structure does approximate chronological impressions: African capture and ocean voyage, the auction block, plantation life with its codes of behavior, responses to emancipation and—briefly—the letdown thereafter. Most of the quotations come from the (edited) records of 19th century abolitionist societies or the Federal Writers' Project interviews of the 1930's so there are few statements from the ones who got away (e.g. Douglass); Lester does excerpt from Josiah Henson and others who wrote autobiographies but concentrates on equally eloquent unknowns, often in their own dialects (depending on the interviewer). The passages are short, some no more than a sentence ("Now that slavery is over, I don't want to be in nary 'nother slavery, and if nary 'nother come up, I wouldn't stay here"), supplementing the editor's pointed commentary. Several themes emerge: the fading of African memories, antagonism between house and field, a subculture of two-faced intelligence, attempts at organized rebellion, emotional release in music.

Possibly the concision and flavor will increase the book's attractiveness to those who need it most, and the list of sources is valuable for further study.

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 1968

ISBN: 978-0-14-131001-5

Page Count: 180

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1968

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GUTS

THE TRUE STORIES BEHIND HATCHET AND THE BRIAN BOOKS

Paulsen recalls personal experiences that he incorporated into Hatchet (1987) and its three sequels, from savage attacks by moose and mosquitoes to watching helplessly as a heart-attack victim dies. As usual, his real adventures are every bit as vivid and hair-raising as those in his fiction, and he relates them with relish—discoursing on “The Fine Art of Wilderness Nutrition,” for instance: “Something that you would never consider eating, something completely repulsive and ugly and disgusting, something so gross it would make you vomit just looking at it, becomes absolutely delicious if you’re starving.” Specific examples follow, to prove that he knows whereof he writes. The author adds incidents from his Iditarod races, describes how he made, then learned to hunt with, bow and arrow, then closes with methods of cooking outdoors sans pots or pans. It’s a patchwork, but an entertaining one, and as likely to win him new fans as to answer questions from his old ones. (Autobiography. 10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-32650-5

Page Count: 150

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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An expertly crafted rendition and a welcome invitation to younger readers to immerse themselves in the ancient past.

THE ILIAD

“Sing to me, O Muse, of the rage of Achilles”: a rousing graphic rendition of Homer’s great epic.

It’s a blood-soaked poem of primeval war, one ostensibly fought over a certain daughter of Zeus who turned the wrong head—“Or possibly an apple, or a lot of gold, or control of trade routes”—that brought vast armies to the plains of Troy. In a fight personified by two heroes, Trojan Hector and Greek Achilles, there’s more than a little graphic violence here—but nothing other than what Homer himself described, as when Achilles’ spear finds Hector’s neck, followed by Achilles’ intemperate curse: “Your corpse goes to the dogs.” That’s not very sporting, and of course Achilles gets his comeuppance. Hinds allows that his version is not complete, but all the best bits are there, and he provides some helpful interpretive hints—identifying the principal helmeted Greek and Trojan warriors with subtle alphabetical designs on their breastplates, for instance. The best graphic panels are the ones that show the war’s vastness, with a two-page spread of those famed thousand ships crossing the Hellespont, another panel showing the Greek army spilling out onto the plain, “like the great flock of migrating birds that take wing in the meadows by the stream of Caÿster—as numerous as the leaves of a forest.” An author’s note and page-by-page notes provide further context.

An expertly crafted rendition and a welcome invitation to younger readers to immerse themselves in the ancient past. (map, bibliography) (Graphic adaptation. 10-adult)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8113-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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