Respectful while maintaining an ebullient, sometimes-facetious tone, even in a war zone.

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FM 101 KNUCKLEHEADS

Jones’ debut is a lighthearted autobiographical account of his time in the Army and endless dealings with those less bright or couth; as he affectionately dubs them, knuckleheads.

In his introduction, Jones acknowledges that his “intent is to entertain.” That’s exactly what he does with his memoir, a collection of often amusing anecdotes. The chronological order—from Jones’ first assignment in Germany in the early 1990s to his deployment in Iraq a decade later, culminating with his attempt to return to civilian life—gives the work a sense of cohesion. Most of the stories consist of the soldier getting “screwed” by superiors, such as the noncommissioned officer in charge who treats National Guard cadets like slaves with unrelenting chores. Retaliation comes in the form of pranks or a higher-ranked officer interceding on Jones’ behalf. But while tales of dense knuckleheads are funny, and the author admits to similar behavior on his own part—inadvertently using the women’s latrine, for one—the work sometimes leans toward haughtiness. Pride over his stellar score in front of the promotion board is understandable, but the narrator then mocks the only man who has scored higher, belittling his fondness for reading military manuals. Jones largely avoids using names, real or fake, which does make the book a smidgen impersonal, especially the few scenes that take place at home, as even his wife isn’t named. The military story has, as expected, a lot of shorthand and acronyms—anything from ranks to vehicles to weapons—and Jones does an exceptional job of clarifying most of them and ensuring that the reader acclimates to military parlance. Jones’ greatest, most hilarious bits are tucked away inside the longer accounts: His wife helps him peruse Army manuals and is such a quick study, she becomes a reference later for other officers; his hometown is so small, residents marry someone out of town to ensure they aren’t related; and he prefers avoiding snipers and IEDs to driving in Houston traffic.

Respectful while maintaining an ebullient, sometimes-facetious tone, even in a war zone.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4912-8887-0

Page Count: 148

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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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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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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