LOVE, JANIS

Joplin pens a bio of her legendary older sister that's more detailed and evenhanded, yet much less dramatic and emotionally raw, than Myra Friedman's bestselling Buried Alive (1973)—and includes the rock star's unpublished letters home, more revealing for Janis's aren't-you-proud-of-me? eagerness of tone than for their contents. Describing Janis's early life and influences, especially the high cultural and educational ideals of her parents, Joplin sometimes employs a tone of stuffy propriety that seems decidedly strange—after all, this is Janis Joplin she's describing. Getting into Janis's years at the Univ. of Texas, however, Joplin rises to the task. She debunks the tale that Janis was voted ``Ugly Man on Campus'' (she was nominated by friends, not detractors, and she didn't win). But Janis was plenty tormented and complex, and we get the impression that her life would have been all booze and unfocused angry rebellion and squalor if it hadn't been for Ken Threadgill, the Austin barkeep who recognized her extraordinary musical gifts and launched her career. Once in San Francisco, Janis teamed up with a ragged, soulful band called ``Big Brother and the Holding Company,'' and all her untamable demons channelled into her art. Her performances were electric. One West Coast critic called Janis a ``shaman woman,'' and Janis didn't disagree: ``I do believe in some very amorphous things that happen when you're onstage...like something moves in the air.'' At once narcissistic and sensitive, hard-driven and childlike, the Janis that emerges here was trapped by her ``get it while you can'' image—and she apparently thought heroin oblivion was her only way out. A thorough, restrained account of an extraordinary rise and fall. (Thirty-two pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-679-41605-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1992

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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