WHERE THE WATERS DIVIDE

A WALK ACROSS AMERICA ALONG THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE

Although the Continental Divide Trail is still more of a bureaucratic vision than a reality, newlyweds Berger (an editor) and Smith (a historian) decided to tackle it as it is—with this colorful but disappointing record of their experience as the result. Hiking a 3,200-mile course from Mexico to Canada in little more than five months—over deserts, through forests, and across countless mountain peaks—the trek involved equal measures of advance planning and on-the-spot resourcefulness. Even with the most current maps of the terrain, the authors found that trails and roads had vanished and watering holes had dried up, but by keeping their wits about them they managed to keep up a stiff pace, knowing that they were racing the onset of winter in the Montana high country even as they set out in the arid flatlands of southern New Mexico. With the steady support of friends old and new—as well as a fierce determination that carried them through snow squalls, thunderstorms, and into the heart of grizzly country to a remote crossing on the Canadian border—Berger and Smith witnessed both the glory and the shame of the American West today—magnificent mountain vistas, but also ample evidence of overgrazing and of the devastation caused by clear-cutting. Sharing the unflagging hospitality of ranchers and those dependent on the timber industry provided the authors insight into the deep-seated problems of the region, and these observations, along with occasional historical and geological vignettes, help to enrich an otherwise pedestrian narrative considerably. A solid if unexceptional chronicle of adventure and discovery in what remains of the American wilderness. (Eleven maps)

Pub Date: June 2, 1993

ISBN: 0-517-58804-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harmony

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1993

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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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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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