Though brief, this informative and insightful overview of Gandhi’s life, assassination and legacy is a solid introduction to...



The assassination of Mohandas Gandhi, India’s spiritual leader and the world’s most famous pacifist, shocked the world. Doeden chronicles Gandhi’s life, accomplishments, assassination and legacy in this compact biography.

The first half of the biography describes Gandhi’s religious beliefs and moral convictions, his personal experiences with discrimination in South Africa and his leadership in a civil rights movement for Indians. Doeden provides background information about India under British colonial rule, India’s caste system, and the tensions between Hindus and Muslims, offering valuable contexts to readers unfamiliar with the region’s history. The second half of the book thoroughly explores the circumstances of Gandhi’s assassination, the motives of the conspirators, the background of assassin Natharum Godse, and the trial and executions of Godse and a co-conspirator. The book concludes with a discussion of the influence of Gandhi’s nonviolent resistance on leaders of social-justice movements such as Martin Luther King Jr., Lech Walesa and Cesar Chavez. The design uses orange as a highlighting color, a decision that makes photo captions rather difficult to read.

Though brief, this informative and insightful overview of Gandhi’s life, assassination and legacy is a solid introduction to the subject. (photographs, timeline, glossary, source notes, suggestions for further reading) (Biography. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7613-5483-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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A thoughtful, engaging history for intermediate students interested in Africa.

Mansa Musa and the Empire of Mali

Oliver’s debut, about one of West Africa’s most powerful and charismatic leaders, delivers a vibrant mix of history and historical fiction for young adults.

The book introduces the medieval empire of Mali with several short narrative essays on trans-Atlantic exploration, trade and mining and soon narrows its focus to the compelling life story of the emperor Mansa Musa, who ruled Mali in the early 1300s. Oliver shows how Musa gained influence while making a lavish, politically important trip to Mecca, and his deft explanation of how Musa crossed the vast Sahara Desert briefly but skillfully conveys the difficulty of the lengthy voyage. This enjoyable work smoothly blends historical text with memorable anecdotes from primary and secondary sources, photos and sketches of replicas of ancient and medieval African art, and well-drawn maps. The book moves at a fast pace, and the author’s clear, straightforward style is likely to appeal to young adults. He easily switches between topics, discussing history (how Musa gained recognition in Egypt and North Africa), religion (how Islam shaped Musa and his empire), architecture (the methods of construction for Malian mud-brick buildings) and fables (the legend of the Malian “gold plant”). However, Oliver always strives for historical accuracy; even his fictional account of a young sandal maker who travels to Niani’s great market contains period-appropriate language and scenery. The book also includes a lengthy glossary that is amply illustrated with drawings and photographs of West African boats and buildings. The work’s one shortcoming is its abrupt ending after Musa returns home; it lacks a thorough explanation as to how and why the empire of Mali eventually dissolved.

A thoughtful, engaging history for intermediate students interested in Africa.

Pub Date: March 26, 2013

ISBN: 978-1468053548

Page Count: 128

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2013

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A unique format for a memoir—Lowry (Stay!, 1997, etc.) offers up quotes from her books, dates, black-and-white photographs, and recollections of each shot, as well as the other memories surrounding it. The technique is charming and often absorbing; readers meet Lowry's grandparents, parents, siblings, children, and grandchildren in a manner that suggests thumbing through a photo album with her. The tone is friendly, intimate, and melancholy, because living comes with sorrow: her sister died of cancer at age 28, and Lowry's son, a pilot, died when his plane crashed. Her overall message is taken from the last words that son, Grey, radioed: "You're on your own." The format of this volume is accessible and it reflects the way events are remembered—one idea leading to another, one memory jostling another; unlike conventional autobiographies, however, it will leave readers with unanswered questions: Who was her first husband—and father of her children? Why are her surviving children hardly mentioned? Why does it end—but for one entry—in 1995? It's still an original presentation, one to be appreciated on its own merits.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-395-89543-X

Page Count: 189

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2000

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