With living survivors seen through the eyes of a contemporary teen, the Holocaust is made present even through the...



A 19-year-old’s firsthand account of the war-crimes trial of a guard at Auschwitz/Birkenau.

In 2015, a Canadian university student witnessed the war-crimes trial of Oskar Groening. Lebowitz, that student and the granddaughter of survivors, has partnered with Kacer (I Am Not a Number, 2016), herself the daughter of survivors, to give her account. Jordana joins a group of Canadian Auschwitz survivors traveling to Germany to testify. Facing 94-year-old Groening, Jordana’s new friends describe the cattle cars and the selections that separated them from family members headed for gas chambers and the crematoria. One witness, a survivor of Josef Mengele’s twin experiments, testifies to the medical experimentation to which she was subjected as a 6-year-old. Groening, tried not for firsthand murder but for enabling the Nazi death machine, is a prime example of the banality of evil. To Jordana’s surprise, she meets many Germans dedicated to correcting the sins of the past, including a tour guide who explains, “my generation…want[s] to take responsibility for our country’s past”—a good lesson to model for readers from other countries, perhaps. Kacer has reconstructed testimony from news articles and interviews, footnoting sources throughout; the telling is straightforward, relying on content for its impact.

With living survivors seen through the eyes of a contemporary teen, the Holocaust is made present even through the uninspiring prose; 72 years after the liberation of the death camps, this immediacy is vital. (epilogue, author’s note by Kacer) (Nonfiction. 11-15)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77260-040-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Second Story Press

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist.



One of the world’s most celebrated creators of civic architecture is profiled in this accessible, engaging biography.

Similar in style and format to her Everybody Paints!: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family (2014) and Wideness and Wonder: The Life and Art of Georgia O’Keeffe (2011), Rubin’s well-researched profile examines the career, creative processes, and career milestones of Maya Lin. Rubin discusses at length Lin’s most famous achievement, designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Chinese-American Lin was a reserved college student who entered and won the competition to design and build the memorial. Her youth and ethnicity were subjects of great controversy, and Rubin discusses how Lin fought to ensure her vision of the memorial remained intact. Other notable works by Lin, including the Civil Rights Memorial for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, a library and chapel for the Children’s Defense Fund, the Museum of Chinese in America, and the outdoor Wave Field project are examined but not in as much depth as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Attractively designed, the book is illustrated extensively with color photos and drawings.

An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist. (bibliography, source notes, index) (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0837-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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Sandwiched between telling lines from the epic of Gilgamesh (“…the warrior’s daughter, the young man’s bride, / he uses her, no one dares to oppose him”) and the exposure of a migrant worker–trafficking ring in Florida in the mid-1990s, this survey methodically presents both a history of the slave trade and what involuntary servitude was and is like in a broad range of times and climes. Though occasionally guilty of overgeneralizing, the authors weave their narrative around contemporary accounts and documented incidents, supplemented by period images or photos and frequent sidebar essays. Also, though their accounts of slavery in North America and the abolition movement in Britain are more detailed than the other chapters, the practice’s past and present in Africa, Asia and the Pacific—including the modern “recruitment” of child soldiers and conditions in the Chinese laogai (forced labor camps)—do come in for broad overviews. For timeliness, international focus and, particularly, accuracy, this leaves Richard Watkins’ Slavery: Bondage Throughout History (2001) in the dust as a first look at a terrible topic. (timeline, index; notes and sources on an associated website) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-88776-914-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2010

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