An amusing, informative look at apocalyptic pop culture.

THE END

50 APOCALYPTIC VISIONS FROM POP CULTURE THAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT...BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE

An entertaining and fascinating compendium of doomsday scenarios depicted in fiction, film, graphic novels, plays, songs, television series and works of art.

In her introduction, Barcella notes it was "overwhelming…having to narrow the list down to just fifty," but offers no insight into how she arrived at her final list. Her sole criterion for selection seems only to be that they are "iconic." The apocalyptic scenarios include alien conquest, bioterrorism, natural catastrophe, nuclear war, superviruses and zombie plagues. R.E.M.'s song "It's the End of the World" and the film When Worlds Collide are obvious selections, but there are many interesting surprises. Who knew authors as different as E.M. Forster, Jack London and Mary Shelley all wrote apocalyptic short stories and novels? Most people listening to Nena's "99 Luftballons" today probably don't realize it's about the Cold War–era shadow of nuclear annihilation. The examples are unimaginatively listed in alphabetical order by title rather than by type of apocalypse or medium. Each entry includes a concise synopsis of the work, brief discussion of its impact and influence, photograph or visual outtake, and quotes from or relating to it. A sidebar called "Reality Factor" discusses the plausibility of the scenario. Doomsday buffs will especially enjoy second-guessing Barcella's choices and dissecting her synopses.

An amusing, informative look at apocalyptic pop culture. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: July 4, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9827322-5-0

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Zest Books

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future.

A QUEER HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

An adaptation for teens of the adult title A Queer History of the United States (2011).

Divided into thematic sections, the text filters LGBTQIA+ history through key figures in each era from the 1500s to the present. Alongside watershed moments like the 1969 Stonewall uprising and the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, the text brings to light less well-known people, places, and events: the 1625 free love colony of Merrymount, transgender Civil War hero Albert D.J. Cashier, and the 1951 founding of the Mattachine Society, to name a few. Throughout, the author and adapter take care to use accurate pronouns and avoid imposing contemporary terminology onto historical figures. In some cases, they quote primary sources to speculate about same-sex relationships while also reminding readers of past cultural differences in expressing strong affection between friends. Black-and-white illustrations or photos augment each chapter. Though it lacks the teen appeal and personable, conversational style of Sarah Prager’s Queer, There, and Everywhere (2017), this textbook-level survey contains a surprising amount of depth. However, the mention of transgender movements and activism—in particular, contemporary issues—runs on the slim side. Whereas chapters are devoted to over 30 ethnically diverse gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer figures, some trans pioneers such as Christine Jorgensen and Holly Woodlawn are reduced to short sidebars.

Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future. (glossary, photo credits, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8070-5612-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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With the demand for all things Hamilton still strong, this will resonate with many teen readers.

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, REVOLUTIONARY

Over 200 years after his death in a duel with former Vice President Aaron Burr, founding father Alexander Hamilton’s story is a major player in popular culture.

Brockenbrough begins her narrative with a list of the contradictions of Hamilton’s life and then sets out to describe many of them in detail. Hamilton’s wretched childhood and struggles for survival and an education set a tone that depicts him as the consummate self-made man whose flaws damaged both his political career and personal life. Hamilton’s courtship and marriage to Elizabeth Schuyler, a daughter of one of the country’s most influential families, is a key part, along with prominent figures from American history. Sometimes the intricacies of Revolutionary War strategy and Constitutional Convention maneuvering slow things down, making the pace uneven. However, tidbits about Hamilton’s role in the episode with Benedict Arnold and his close relationships with fellow soldier John Laurens and his sister-in-law Angelica Church are intriguing. The story is targeted to an older audience than Teri Kanefield’s Alexander Hamilton: The Making of America (2017), so the sex scandal that derailed Hamilton’s political career is part of the story, as is, of course, the duel that ended his life. After the epilogue, the volume includes information on 18th-century medicine, attire, and warfare among other contextualizing topics ; the volume will be illustrated with archival material (not seen).

With the demand for all things Hamilton still strong, this will resonate with many teen readers. (timeline, source notes, bibliography, index) (Biography. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-12319-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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