RUTH BENEDICT

This is a volume in the Leaders of Modern Anthropology series, and as such it is an introduction to Ruth Benedict as a thinker and a human being, not a full-scale biography. That came much closer to being provided (self-effacingly) by Dr. Mead in her 1959 selection from Benedict's journals, letters and professional writings, An Anthropologist at Work, freely drawn on here. But the current book is a fine presentation. Mead's portrait of her teacher, friend and colleague is restrainedly personal (it's the restraint of respect) and full of objective but warm professional appreciation. In describing Benedict's youth, Mead, her literary executor, lets Benedict largely speak for herself out of private diaries, providing only a delicate commentary on the sources of this woman's childhood sense of alienation, her compensatory inner life, her interest in poetry, her search for self. Mead does not get embroiled in the feminist issues that surround Benedict's early, and later soundly disillusioned, belief in Love as woman's supreme goal, but she does make it clear that this was a spirit that needed the expansion of passionate occupation, and finally found it in anthropology. She describes the evolution not only of Benedict's thought about "patterns of culture," but also her instinctive preference for work with data (as in The Chrysanthemum and the Sword) over direct fieldwork, her sense of social responsibility, and the obstacles her career encountered as a woman in the toils of academic bureaucracy. Mead's portrait is followed by a selection from the essential Benedict (on cultural configurations, Zuni mythology, primitive freedom, Japanese self-discipline) which reveal her as lucid, seminal, humane, and very much the writer she always wanted to be.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1974

ISBN: 0231035209

Page Count: 180

Publisher: Columbia Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1974

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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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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