WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST AND THE AMERICAN CENTURY

The latest entry in the Makers of the Media Series is the story of a spoiled, rich child who grew up to be the king of “yellow journalism.” Whitelaw (Joseph Pulitzer and the New York World, p. 637, etc.) is balanced in her presentation, showing Hearst with all his warts, but allowing for the improvements he made in the newspaper business. Born into a wealthy family whose mother adored and indulged him and whose father ignored him, Willie flunked out of Harvard and ultimately went to work for his father’s newspaper, the San Francisco Examiner. He used the newspaper to influence politics and thought nothing of creating stories when he could not uncover the facts. Some of his ruthlessness and single-mindedness is glossed over, e.g., mentioned is the speculation that he was the model for Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane, but not Hearst’s attempts to thwart the film. The title is a misnomer, since Hearst died in 1951, with the second half of the “American Century” hardly underway. In fact, this is a perfunctory treatment of his life, a bland source for those doing research, unlikely to inspire further inquiry. (b&w photos, chronology, bibliography, index) (Biography. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 1999

ISBN: 1-883846-46-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1999

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Wheeler offers a scrapbook-style travelogue of her seven-month stint on the world’s coldest continent.  Letters to her...

GREETINGS FROM ANTARCTICA

            In an eye-opening companion to such works as Jennifer Armstrong’s Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World (1999) and Elizabeth Cody Kimmel’s Ice Story (p.  66) on Shackleton, readers get a contemporary look at Antarctica.

            Wheeler offers a scrapbook-style travelogue of her seven-month stint on the world’s coldest continent.  Letters to her godson, Daniel, describe a harsh environment so cold that dental fillings fall out.  Double-page spreads dotted with full-color snapshots form short chapters on the icy region, suiting up, the difficulties of everyday existence, food and drink, shelter, transportation, entertainment, and wildlife.  The last third of the volume is devoted to current scientific pursuits as well as an overview of famous expeditions to the nearly uninhabitable “bottom of the planet.”  The cheery photographs – most by the author – show her dwarfed by the Barne glacier, posing with Emperor penguins, even building an igloo.  While the chatty letters highlight personal details of the trip, boxed inserts provide background information.  Key dates in Antarctic history complete this accessible profile, ideal as entry into units on the region.  (maps, charts, diagrams, further reading, index)  (Nonfiction.  8-12)

Pub Date: July 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-87226-295-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1999

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AFRICAN AMERICAN HEALERS

Brief biographies of two dozen African-American doctors, nurses, and healers from the earliest days of this country to the present comprise this latest in the Black Star series. Biographies are divided into four chronological sections. Particularly in the early chapters, it is interesting to note how often information is simply lost: James Durham of New Orleans, first black doctor in the United States, vanishes from history after 1802, and it is not known when or where Civil War nurse Susie King Taylor, who published an autobiography in 1902, died. The struggles of black healers to secure a medical education when so many schools were closed to them and to continue their training in segregated hospitals come across clearly in story after story. Daniel Hale Williams was the first person to perform heart surgery (in 1893—the patient lived another 50 years), and Charles Richard Drew invented the blood bank in the 1930s. Minor misspellings and a wrong definition aside (obstetrics is the branch of medicine dealing directly or indirectly with birth, not a “branch . . . that deals with children”), the text is clear; it can be coy in spots, not defining, for example, what syphilis is, nor explaining why Jocelyn Elders had to resign from the office of the Surgeon General. (index, not seen, b&w photos, chronology, notes, bibliography) (Biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-471-24650-6

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Wiley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1999

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