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History buffs and fans of forensic television shows will especially appreciate this exploration of one of the worst fires in...

In 1944, 167 people died in a circus fire in Hartford, Connecticut; 59 of them were children under 10.

Some were trampled when the audience of 6,000 tried to flee the tent; others died from burns. This chronological account vividly describes the circus, the fire, the rescue, and the medical care that followed. The polished text draws from interviews the author conducted as well as legal documents, newspapers, letters, and more. Black-and-white photographs of mixed quality add both information and a sense of the time. Much of the book focuses on mysteries surrounding the fire, such as its causes and unidentified bodies, puzzling them out from official reports from the time and subsequent investigations. Woven throughout is the story of a child’s unclaimed body, perhaps that of Eleanor Cook, a missing girl who wasn’t identified at the time. Details about the child’s clothes, her injuries from being trampled, and even a dental chart provide clues for readers to assess. It remains uncertain if the fire was caused by arson or if the body was Eleanor Cook’s, leaving readers with the realistic but possibly disappointing view that not all mysteries from the past can be solved.

History buffs and fans of forensic television shows will especially appreciate this exploration of one of the worst fires in American history. (author’s note, notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: June 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-61373-114-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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Logically pointing out that the American cowboy archetype didn’t spring up from nowhere, Sandler, author of Cowboys (1994) and other volumes in the superficial, if luxuriously illustrated, “Library of Congress Book” series, looks back over 400 years of cattle tending in North America. His coverage ranges from the livestock carried on Columbus’s second voyage to today’s herding-by-helicopter operations. Here, too, the generous array of dramatic early prints, paintings, and photos are more likely to capture readers’ imaginations than the generality-ridden text. But among his vague comments about the characters, values, and culture passed by Mexican vaqueros to later arrivals from the Eastern US, Sadler intersperses nods to the gauchos, llaneros, and other South American “cowmen,” plus the paniolos of Hawaii, and the renowned African-American cowboys. He also decries the role film and popular literature have played in suppressing the vaqueros’ place in the history of the American West. He tackles an uncommon topic, and will broaden the historical perspective of many young cowboy fans, but his glance at modern vaqueros seems to stop at this country’s borders. Young readers will get a far more detailed, vivid picture of vaquero life and work from the cowboy classics in his annotated bibliography. (Notes, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2001

ISBN: 0-8050-6019-7

Page Count: 116

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2000

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An introduction to ancient Egypt and the Pharaohs buried in the Valley of the Kings. The authors begin with how archaeologist Howard Carter found the tomb of King Tut, then move back 3,000 years to the time of Thutmosis I, who built the first tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Finally they describe the building of the tomb of a later Pharaoh, Ramses II. The backward-forward narration is not always easy to follow, and the authors attribute emotions to the Pharaohs without citation. For example, “Thutmosis III was furious [with Hatshepsut]. He was especially annoyed that she planned to be buried in KV 20, the tomb of her father.” Since both these people lived 3,500 years ago, speculation on who was furious or annoyed should be used with extreme caution. And the tangled intrigue of Egyptian royalty is not easily sorted out in so brief a work. Throughout, though, there are spectacular photographs of ancient Egyptian artifacts, monuments, tomb paintings, jewels, and death masks that will appeal to young viewers. The photographs of the exposed mummies of Ramses II, King Tut, and Seti I are compelling. More useful for the hauntingly beautiful photos than the text. (brief bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7922-7223-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2001

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