Scary, sobering stuff.

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THE UNTOLD HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, VOLUME 2

YOUNG READERS EDITION, 1945-1962

Stone and Kuznick’s mordant take on this country’s history continues—here spanning the period from the beginning of the Cold War to the Cuban missile crisis.

Reworking two chapters and most of a third from the adult-directed print companion to the lead author’s 2012 documentary film, Singer creates a patchwork narrative that begins with John Hersey’s Hiroshima (1946: “the twentieth century’s most important work of journalism”) and ends with Nikita Khrushchev’s decision that “it was not worth killing hundreds of millions of people or more just to prove he was tough.” In between, the authors portray Truman as incompetent, trace Eisenhower’s passage from pacifism to unbridled militarism, and, for JFK, quote Eleanor Roosevelt’s pithy wish that he had “a little less profile and a little more courage.” Along with chronicling rising Cold War “hysteria” and the “cockamamie” schemes of Washington’s rabidly militaristic “lunatics,” they also point to the first stirrings of an anti-war movement, mock the era’s disingenuous civil defense drills, and detail some of the CIA’s various enterprises in meddling. There is much that is elided, but introductions to more than one historical moment when all-out nuclear war was just a button push away will leave readers with considerably more nuanced views of this country’s past…and present. Finished photos not seen.

Scary, sobering stuff. (timeline, source notes and lists, index) (Nonfiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4814-2176-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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THE CIVIL WAR AT SEA

In this companion to Portraits of War: Civil War Photographers and Their Work (1998), Sullivan presents an album of the prominent ships and men who fought on both sides, matched to an engrossing account of the war's progress: at sea, on the Mississippi, and along the South's well-defended coastline. In his view, the issue never was in doubt, for though the Confederacy fought back with innovative ironclads, sleek blockade runners, well-armed commerce raiders, and sturdy fortifications, from the earliest stages the North was able to seal off, and then take, one major southern port after another. The photos, many of which were made from fragile glass plates whose survival seems near-miraculous, are drawn from private as well as public collections, and some have never been published before. There aren't any action shots, since mid-19th-century photography required very long exposure times, but the author compensates with contemporary prints, plus crisp battle accounts, lucid strategic overviews, and descriptions of the technological developments that, by war's end, gave this country a world-class navy. He also profiles the careers of Matthew Brady and several less well-known photographers, adding another level of interest to a multi-stranded survey. (source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7613-1553-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Millbrook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

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MUMMIES, BONES, AND BODY PARTS

The author of the award-winning Mummies & Their Mysteries (1993) returns to the intriguing subject of mummies. Here she explains how they are formed, how scientists use a variety of sophisticated techniques to learn about peoples and cultures of long ago, and some of the controversies surrounding the study of human remains. As with the previous title, the photographs presented here are striking, from the Inca child who appears on the front cover, to the mummy of Egyptian King Seti I, which appears on the back. Other photographs show some of the first tattoos, details of the Iceman, an Italian child who died of smallpox 400 years ago, the remains of light-haired Caucasian mummies from Xinjiang, China, and the well-preserved bodies of Philip Calvert, governor of Maryland from 1660 to 1661. The science is impressive, as carbon-14 dating, CT scans, DNA profiling, and X-rays are used to solve ancient mysteries. What were the people like? What did they eat? When did they die? What caused their death? What were the diseases they suffered? The author also discusses the controversies as different cultures clash over studying human remains. She mentions the Native American Graves Protection and Reparation Act which gives Native Americans control over native remains buried on government land or held in collections owned or funded by the government, and discusses former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s, efforts to house Egyptian mummies in a more dignified way. Though Wilcox discusses respect for the dead, she nonetheless pictures the controversial “Human Body Art” of German artist Gunther von Hagens, and “Sylvester,” a mummy used to greet customers in a shop in Seattle. Also pictured are the remains of an outlaw put on display for 65 years as a moneymaking exhibit for a funeral parlor. The author concludes with a glossary, extensive bibliography including Web sites, and a detailed index. Intriguing science, dramatically presented. (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2000

ISBN: 1-57505-428-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

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