From the vantage of his mid-60s, critic, writer, and retired teacher Rubin (The Mockingbird in the Gum Tree, p. 997) offers a pleasantly rambling memoir about his lifelong romance with boats and about the building of what he suspects will be his last one, the wooden-hulled 24-footer Algonquin. As a young boy in Charleston, S.C., who lived on a river near the sea but couldn't swim a stroke, Rubin tacked together his first leaky skiff and tasted the romance of free movement on the water. Rubin never did learn to swim—a failure about which he's got some typically funny and modestly exploratory things to say—but from that time on he was never without a boat, or far from one. Entering retirement, and having gotten his children through college, he's now able to afford a boat that's an end-of-life equivalent of that childhood skiff—a craft at last that he can design and have built exactly the way he wants it. The result is the sturdy and unpretentious Algonquin, modeled after the harbor workboats that infatuated Rubin as a boy, and her construction from keel up (the boat is named for the publishing company of which Rubin is founder, and also for a coastal liner his father once took passage on) gives the author occasion to reminisce about his lifetime of boats before this one, with conversational side trips into books, places, the meaning of boats and travel, and even—by means of bits of family history that make up some of the most readable pages of this readable book—the psychology of risk-taking and the emotional roots of Rubin's constant but often impractical love of water and boats. Though maybe not casting its lines to quite the same historical breadth as Witold Rybczynski's The Most Beautiful House in the World (1989), this offers itself as a worthy and natural companion to that other andante and evocative memoir of the building of something much loved.

Pub Date: Nov. 19, 1991

ISBN: 0-87113-508-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1991

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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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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