A fascinating, vivid look at what one shipwreck reveals about the realities of the “Golden Age of Piracy.” (maps, photos,...

THE WHYDAH

A PIRATE SHIP FEARED, WRECKED, AND FOUND

Sandler tells the exciting true story of the only wrecked pirate ship ever found and the mysteries it revealed.

Commissioned in 1715 in London and christened the Whydah after the West African slave-trading kingdom of Ouidah, the vessel was a galley ship configured as a heavily armed trading and transport ship for the Atlantic slave trade. In February 1717, the Whydah was attacked by pirates under the command of “Black Sam” Bellamy, who made the vessel his flagship. Bellamy and his newly captured ship menaced the coastlines of Colonial America until it was wrecked two months after capture in a nor’easter along the shoals of Cape Cod. The treasure-laden wreck was found in 1984 by marine archaeologists, and Sandler explains that 30 years of expeditions have “resulted in the discovery and retrieval of thousands of artifacts that increase our knowledge of the Whydah’s history and dramatically alter our perception of pirates and their way of life.” Sandler offers an insightful look at how different the realities of pirate life were compared to how it has been mythologized in popular culture. Instead of finding eye patches, wooden legs, rum bottles, and parrot remains, archaeologists discovered artifacts such as medical syringes, surprising for “an age when medical knowledge and practice were primitive at best.”

A fascinating, vivid look at what one shipwreck reveals about the realities of the “Golden Age of Piracy.” (maps, photos, source notes, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8033-6

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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A slim volume big on historical information and insight.

COME ON IN, AMERICA

THE UNITED STATES IN WORLD WAR I

A wide-ranging exploration of World War I and how it changed the United States forever.

Students who know anything about history tend to know other wars better—the Civil War, World War II, Vietnam. But it was World War I that changed America and ushered in a new role for the United States as a world political and economic leader. Two million Americans were sent to the war, and in the 19 months of involvement in Europe, 53,000 Americans were killed in battle, part of the staggering total death toll of 10 million, a war of such magnitude that it transformed the governments and economies of every major participant. Osborne’s straightforward text is a clear account of the war itself and various related topics—African-American soldiers, the Woman’s Peace Party, the use of airplanes as weapons for the first time, trench warfare, and the sinking of the Lusitania. Many archival photographs complement the text, as does a map of Europe (though some countries are lost in the gutter). A thorough bibliography includes several works for young readers. A study of World War I offers a context for discussing world events today, so this volume is a good bet for libraries and classrooms—a well-written treatment that can replace dry textbook accounts.

A slim volume big on historical information and insight. (timeline, source notes, credits) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2378-0

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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Unvarnished but nevertheless valuable for fishing so many admirably nonconformist women from obscurity.

WOMEN WHO DARED

52 FEARLESS DAREDEVILS, ADVENTURERS, AND REBELS

A populous gallery of courageous, independent women from (fairly) recent times.

Skeers’ roster of acrobats, aviators, professional wrestlers, mountaineers, rescuers, survivors, medical workers, and intrepid travelers has a mildly antique flavor, being drawn largely from the 19th and 20th centuries (a few of the subjects are still alive, mostly in retirement). On the other hand, nearly all of her choices are likely to be unfamiliar to young readers. Arranged beneath the subtitle’s three headers (and alphabetized by first name rather than last), each gets a rubric (“Arctic Survivor,” “Bodacious Bicyclist,” “Lionhearted Librarian”), a stylized full-length portrait from Gosling with an iconographic border, and a one-page highlight-reel tribute that generally ends on an inspirational note: Sophie Blanchard, “dainty and daring” balloonist, “bested the danger and defied social norms, stereotypes, and even gravity itself to prove that women could successfully achieve their high-flying dreams.” The author doesn’t cast her net too widely, as all but 12 of these putative role models hail from the United States or Europe, and though nonwhite minorities are decently, if not strongly, represented, she is inconsistent about noting them. Also, the large bibliography is not at all user-friendly, being arranged by author rather than subject and presented in an indigestible mass of miniscule type.

Unvarnished but nevertheless valuable for fishing so many admirably nonconformist women from obscurity. (index) (Collective biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-5327-1

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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