THE LAST WARRIOR

PETER MACDONALD AND THE NAVAJO NATION

The autobiography-cum-exoneration of MacDonald, once tribal chairman of the Navajo Nation, now a prisoner in a Navajo jail. At times, MacDonald (writing here with Schwarz, Walking with the Damned, 1992, etc.) skirts absurdity in his self- glorification: He is ``the Last Warrior...a man who feared neither scandal nor death,'' who ``adorned his body with the white man's battle dress—a three piece suit'' to defend his Navajo people. Once past the mock-epic palaver, however, a gritty story emerges of a man who left his mark both on his native culture and on the larger world before enemies (MacDonald's version) or greed (the court's version) did him in. Born in 1928, MacDonald passed his early years in a traditional Navajo home. After surviving Bureau of Indian Affairs schooling, he joined the Marines, spending WW II as one of the celebrated Navajo code- talkers. Electrical engineering followed, with a meteoric rise up the ranks at Hughes Aircraft. Having conquered the Anglo world, MacDonald returned to Navajo Nation and, in 1971, became its tribal chairman. His tenure was marked by fierce battles for Navajo autonomy—he campaigned for a native curriculum in schools and traditional practice at home, insisting that ``our children must learn to be totally Navajo''—during which he managed to stub the toes of radical Indians (AIM), conservative pro-Indian senators (Barry Goldwater), and the Hopis, whom he accuses of ``compromising their traditional values'' in land disputes with the Navajo. As MacDonald has it, ``lies'' and ``innuendo'' from his enemies—among whom he numbers the FBI and Peterson Zah, his successor as tribal chairman—led to his downfall on trumped-up charges. As a brief for MacDonald, too obviously slanted to be convincing; nonetheless, a powerful tale of ethnic awakening. (Sixteen-page b&w photo insert—not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 1993

ISBN: 0-517-59323-8

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1993

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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