1776

A NEW LOOK AT REVOLUTIONARY WILLIAMSBURG

Renda’s bright color photographs of a squeaky-clean Colonial Williamsburg—the living history museum—belie the serious intent of this fine volume, which portrays 18th-century Williamsburg as more of a multicultural and fluid society than previously thought. Though the popular image of the gentry with their powdered wigs and fancy houses is true, so is the fact that over half of the city’s population was slaves, “with families, traditions, and dreams of their own.” The photo-essay is a clearly written and concise portrait of revolutionary Williamsburg, determined not to leave African Virginians, Indians and women out of the picture. The straightforward presentation, brief chapters and vivid photographs, along with a look at recent archaeological discoveries, make this an important volume for libraries and classrooms. A more extensive bibliography, especially with materials for young readers, would be useful, but this is another fine work in the “A New Look at” series, which includes the excellent 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving, by Catherine O’Neill Grace and Margaret M. Bruchac, with photographs by Sisse Brimberg and Cotton Coulson (2001). (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4263-0517-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2009

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The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for...

TWO MEN AND A CAR

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, AL CAPONE, AND A CADILLAC V-8

A custom-built, bulletproof limo links two historical figures who were pre-eminent in more or less different spheres.

Garland admits that a claim that FDR was driven to Congress to deliver his “Day of Infamy” speech in a car that once belonged to Capone rests on shaky evidence. He nonetheless uses the anecdote as a launchpad for twin portraits of contemporaries who occupy unique niches in this country’s history but had little in common. Both were smart, ambitious New Yorkers and were young when their fathers died, but they definitely “headed in opposite directions.” As he fills his biographical sketches with standard-issue facts and has disappointingly little to say about the car itself (which was commissioned by Capone in 1928 and still survives), this outing seems largely intended to be a vehicle for the dark, heavy illustrations. These are done in muted hues with densely scratched surfaces and angled so that the two men, the period backgrounds against which they are posed, and the car have monumental looks. It’s a reach to bill this, as the author does, a “story about America,” but it does at least offer a study in contrasts featuring two of America’s most renowned citizens. Most of the human figures are white in the art, but some group scenes include a few with darker skin.

The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for thought. (timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-88448-620-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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BYLINES

A PHOTOBIOGRAPHY OF NELLIE BLY

Nellie Bly’s life was full of derring-do and adventure. At one point, thousands of people followed her every move and wondered what she would try next. But mention this name to young folk today, and a puzzled glance is the likely response. In composed yet passionate prose—not unlike Bly’s own—Macy delves into the many escapades of this devoted journalist. From being voluntarily committed to an insane asylum for a story to becoming the only woman allowed to report from the front lines of World War I, Bly never shied away from a challenging assignment. It was her trip around the world in fewer than 80 days, besting the main character from Jules Verne’s popular novel, that made her a household name. Complete with full-spread photos, quotes, maps and faded-newsprint backdrops, this attractive package will appeal to young journalists and thrill-seekers alike. (afterword, author’s note, timeline, resources, source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4263-0513-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2009

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