While this work looks like a traditional Florence guidebook, the author’s expert use of facts and illustrations sets it...

FLORENCE

A TRAVELER'S GUIDE TO ITS GEMS & GIANTS

A historian and armchair archaeologist shares her knowledge of Florence.

Most travel guides do not open with definitions of Stendhal syndrome and humanism, but this unusual introduction sets the tone for the debut book. As delineated in the subtitle, the work focuses on Florence’s “Gems” (noteworthy places) and “Giants” (diverse luminaries). Before these two main sections, there is a checklist of things to do and see in the city, presented in the form of provocative questions (for example, “Who broke Dante’s heart?”), followed by textual and image tables of contents and a background section. The last includes a map of Florence and a brief overview of its history and development, beginning with the plague in the 1300s and continuing through the Renaissance (1500s). The “Giants” section is the lengthiest and provides biographies of the Medicis, Petrarch, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, and other well-known figures associated with Florence but also lesser lights like Masaccio and Ghirlandaio. The relatively shorter “Gems” presents tidbits on some prominent tourist sites, including the Uffizi Gallery and Ponte Vecchio. The final section, “Wandering Around Today’s Florence,” gives a list of piazzas and offers tips on the best views, art, and day trips. While readers looking for information on hotels and restaurants will be disappointed, Civalleri gives more in-depth information on the history and significance of Florence’s celebrities and sites than traditional guides. Despite the reams of history, the work is still a light, entertaining read. The extensive use of illustrations—primarily photographs, but also maps—enlivens the text. Numerous sidebars supply anecdotes, definitions, and brief topics. The various font styles, sizes, and colors keep the book visually intriguing (although it occasionally verges on becoming a little busy). Ultimately, Civalleri delivers on her promise to teach readers about Florence through its fun stories.

While this work looks like a traditional Florence guidebook, the author’s expert use of facts and illustrations sets it above the rest.

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9981926-0-4

Page Count: 264

Publisher: 1-Take MultiMedia

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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