LOUISA MAY ALCOTT

AUTHOR OF LITTLE WOMEN

The author of the century-old, still-beloved Little Women led an extraordinarily interesting life herself, as Warrick makes plain in this dutiful biography. Alcott’s often-absent father, full of educational dreams and schemes and a friend of Emerson, her hard-working and hard-pressed mother, and her three sisters (models, as is well-known, for the siblings in the book) moved a great deal as she was growing up. Alcott soon realized that if there was to be money, she had to make it, and found a career writing sensational trash under a pseudonym and wonderful family stories under her own name. The biography opens with the story of Alcott’s letters from a Civil War hospital where she worked as a nurse, published in Boston Commonwealth magazine and her first real literary success. Vignettes and quotations enliven the text, which is written in a direct and straightforward style. Alcott’s work as a feminist and her possible love life are mentioned, if briefly. For those seeking yet another biography, this will serve. (b&w photos, not seen, chronology, notes, glossary, index) (Biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7660-1254-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Enslow

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1999

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JAM!

THE STORY OF JAZZ MUSIC

A busy page design—artily superimposed text and photos, tinted portraits, and break-out boxes—and occasionally infelicitous writing (“Trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie became . . . bandleader of the quintet at the Onyx Club, from which bebop got its name”) give this quick history of jazz a slapdash air, but Lee delves relatively deeply into the music’s direct and indirect African roots, then goes beyond the usual tedious tally of names to present a coherent picture of specific influences and innovations associated with the biggest names in jazz. A highly selective discography will give readers who want to become listeners a jump start; those seeking more background will want to follow this up with James Lincoln Collier’s Jazz (1997). (glossary, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8239-1852-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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1000 MAKERS OF THE MILLENNIUM

With an emphasis on Western “makers” of the millennium, and, perhaps inevitably, deep coverage of the last 200 years and fleeting coverage of the first few centuries, this volume offers brief biographical sketches of 1,000 people who had an impact on the last 1,000 years. Profusely illustrated and printed on heavy glossy stock, this is a coffee table book for children, meant to be dipped into rather than read from start to finish. Organized chronologically, with a chapter for each century, the parade of people is given context through a timeline of major events, with those of particular importance discussed in special boxes. As with any effort of this kind, there are surprising omissions (the publisher is creating a website for readers’ own suggestions) and inclusions, a Western predominance that grows more pronounced in the later centuries, and an emphasis on sports and celebrity that finishes off the last few decades. The selection can seem highly subjective and provocatively arbitrary, e.g., the US presidents from Nixon back to Teddy Roosevelt are all covered, but none after Nixon. Still, there is a clear effort to include a wide variety of countries and cultures, and this ambitious effort will be the starting point for many historical journeys. (chronology, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7894-4709-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1999

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