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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The rare immigrant chronicle that is as long on hope as it is on heartbreak.

INFINITE COUNTRY

A 15-year-old girl in Colombia, doing time in a remote detention center, orchestrates a jail break and tries to get home.

"People say drugs and alcohol are the greatest and most persuasive narcotics—the elements most likely to ruin a life. They're wrong. It's love." As the U.S. recovers from the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, from the misery of separations on the border, from both the idea and the reality of a wall around the United States, Engel's vital story of a divided Colombian family is a book we need to read. Weaving Andean myth and natural symbolism into her narrative—condors signify mating for life, jaguars revenge; the embattled Colombians are "a singed species of birds without feathers who can still fly"; children born in one country and raised in another are "repotted flowers, creatures forced to live in the wrong habitat"—she follows Talia, the youngest child, on a complex journey. Having committed a violent crime not long before she was scheduled to leave her father in Bogotá to join her mother and siblings in New Jersey, she winds up in a horrible Catholic juvie from which she must escape in order to make her plane. Hence the book's wonderful first sentence: "It was her idea to tie up the nun." Talia's cross-country journey is interwoven with the story of her parents' early romance, their migration to the United States, her father's deportation, her grandmother's death, the struggle to reunite. In the latter third of the book, surprising narrative shifts are made to include the voices of Talia's siblings, raised in the U.S. This provides interesting new perspectives, but it is a little awkward to break the fourth wall so late in the book. Attention, TV and movie people: This story is made for the screen.

The rare immigrant chronicle that is as long on hope as it is on heartbreak.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982159-46-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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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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