A satisfying journey through 1970s sexual politics and the lands of the southernmost part of the Earth.

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OVER MY HEAD

JOURNEYS IN LEAKY BOATS FROM THE STRAIT OF MAGELLAN TO CAPE HORN AND BEYOND

In this debut travel memoir, a pioneering female geologist explores the topography of South America and the shifting landscape of women in the sciences.

Imagine a young woman with her back against a sheer rock cliff, unable to climb to safety from the reach of fast approaching, freezing waters. This is the opening to Winslow’s account of her Antarctic expeditions and her journey into both the largely uncharted territory of the region and the male-dominated field of geology. In the 1970s, the attitude toward women scientists was tolerant at best; sexism ran rampant, from doubts about female physical strength to overt sexual advances from colleagues. Winslow (Earth Sciences/City College of New York) battled these and other obstacles to become a trailblazing geologist, exploring the punishing terrain that Charles Darwin made famous. During the five excursions chronicled in the book, Winslow keeps pace with the accompanying male scientists: She climbs (and falls from) cliff faces; survives roiling seas; and even pushes the all-male crews into uncharted waters (in one case, convincing them to illegally let the scientists off on an island belonging to then-dictator Augusto Pinochet), to the point where the sailors fondly dub her Capitana Margy. Winslow admirably pairs scientific jargon with entertaining anecdotes, detailing both her field work and her experiences as a woman with precision and humor. That said, the strength of the book lies in her straightforward descriptions, rather than in strong literary embellishment. Winslow is also careful not to let her gender be the primary focus of the story, but the physical and emotional demands of her work make her accomplishments that much more impressive. As she gamely puts it, “there had been few role models for women scientists, and they fell into only three categories: one of the boys, the camp wife and the mascot…I worked out to get fit enough to keep up with the pack, but not to beat anyone to the finish line.”

A satisfying journey through 1970s sexual politics and the lands of the southernmost part of the Earth.

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2012

ISBN: 978-1475954326

Page Count: 238

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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