Since the real Shakespeare is no longer around to stand up, such arguments are difficult to resolve. Anderson makes a...



In which Shakespeare turns out to be Shake-speare, not Shakspere.

Young journalist Anderson revives a very old argument, most of it from silence, that the presumably illiterate William Shakspere (the actor) of Stratford couldn’t possibly have written the learned and wise work attributed to him as Shakespeare (the author). Article 1: There’s no record of Shakspere’s having signed up for school. Article 2: There’s no evidence that Shakspere got any farther than London. Article 3: Shakspere’s will mentions no books, though scholars have busied themselves for generations sussing out the books that Shakespeare drew on for inspiration and storylines. The problem with such arguments, as previous would-be debunkers have discovered, is that there’s no evidence that the actor didn’t attend school; there’s reason to think he fought as a soldier on the Continent; and he may well have disposed of his books before dying so as to get some much-needed cash into the estate. No matter: following Orson Welles’s lead, Anderson turns to the well-worn thesis that the Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere, had all the chops to be the real Shakespeare (pen name Shake-speare, with winking hyphen): he was brilliant, much traveled and splendid, but also noble—good reason to stay away from the tawdry life of the stage in Elizabethan England, which, at the time, was torn by enough religious strife and political intrigue to keep a fellow busy doing other things, making a front convenient. Anderson charges into literary-critical battle with an admirable lack of self-consciousness, offering inventive readings, including one of Hamlet as a vehicle for the heretical thoughts of the Italian monk Giordano Bruno. He is less convincing on other argumentative lines, such as whether The Tempest, long thought to draw on a 1609 account of a Bermuda shipwreck—that is, a book published several years after de Vere’s death—might have had some other basis.

Since the real Shakespeare is no longer around to stand up, such arguments are difficult to resolve. Anderson makes a spirited case, and even the staunchest anti–de Vere partisan will profit from hearing him out—though will likely remain unconvinced.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2005

ISBN: 1-592-40103-1

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Gotham Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2005

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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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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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