An entertaining and instructive look at a tumultuous year.



The year 1919 was a significant one in 20th-century American history.

Sandler draws on a wide range of resources to present some of the most compelling news stories of a banner year. In Boston, a huge tank of molasses exploded, sending a lethal flood of syrup across an area largely occupied by impoverished immigrants. Both soldiers just returned from the Great War and those who’d patriotically served on the homefront discovered that there’d be few jobs for them—most of those at wages insufficient to support families—leading to numerous strikes. Reacting to intolerable repression, black Americans struck back at white abuses in a series of violent racial conflicts (described as “riots”) that rocked both urban and rural communities. The U.S. attorney general pushed back against a perceived “Red Scare” of communist agitators, leading to mass imprisonments and deportations that reflected more a growing sense of anti-immigrant prejudice than any actual danger. Women were campaigning to achieve voting rights, and Prohibition was instituted. Each chapter attempts to relate that section’s issue to modern problems, in one case tenuously drawing a connection between labor unrest and climate change. Sandler’s prose is vigorous, impassioned, and carefully contextualized. If some of his choices seem odd (he fully reports the Molasses Flood, a regional story, while the massive international influenza epidemic of the era receives scant coverage), it’s nevertheless a fascinating story, augmented by numerous attractive archival images.

An entertaining and instructive look at a tumultuous year. (further reading, sources, index) (Nonfiction. 11-16)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68119-801-9

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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Macy wheels out another significant and seldom explored chapter in women’s history.



Well-documented proof that, when it came to early automobiles, it wasn’t just men who took the wheel.

Despite relentlessly flashy page design that is more distracting than otherwise and a faint typeface sure to induce eyestrain, this companion to Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (2011) chronicles decided shifts in gender attitudes and expectations as it puts women (American women, mostly) behind the wheel in the first decades of the 20th century. Sidebar profiles and features, photos, advertisements, and clippings from contemporary magazines and newspapers festoon a revved-up narrative that is often set in angular blocks for added drama. Along with paying particular attention to women who went on the road to campaign for the vote and drove ambulances and other motor vehicles during World War I, Macy recounts notable speed and endurance races, and she introduces skilled drivers/mechanics such as Alice Ramsey and Joan Newton Cuneo. She also diversifies the predominantly white cast with nods to Madam C.J. Walker, her daughter, A’Lelia (both avid motorists), and the wartime Colored Women’s Motor Corps. An intro by Danica Patrick, checklists of “motoring milestones,” and an extended account of an 1895 race run and won by men do more for the page count than the overall story—but it’s nonetheless a story worth the telling.

Macy wheels out another significant and seldom explored chapter in women’s history. (index, statistics, source notes, annotated reading list) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2697-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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Facile pop-psychology from a clinical psychologist with the credentials to know better. Assigning a chapter each to a select range of feelings—nearly all of them painful or negative ones, such as guilt, fear or anger, with but one shorter chapter allotted to the likes of love and joy—Lamia offers generalizations about what emotional responses look and feel like, typical circumstances that might cause them to arise and superficial insights (“Negative or worried thoughts spoil a good mood”). She also offers bland palliative suggestions (“Forgive yourself and move on”), self-quizzes, sound-bite comments in the margins from young people and, in colored boxes labeled “Psych Notes,” relevant research abstracts from cited but hard-to-obtain professional sources. Aside from a mildly discouraging view of “Infatuation,” she isn’t judgmental or prescriptive, but her overview is so cursory that she skips the stages of grief, makes no distinction between disgust and contempt and barely takes notice of depression. Teens and preteens might come away slightly more self-aware, but they won’t find either motivation or tools to help them cope with major upset. (Self-help. 12-16)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4338-0890-6

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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