A riveting tribute to epic tests of men against the elements.

Analytical accounts of two historic firsts that bookend nearly a century of Antarctic exploration: reaching the South Pole and crossing the entire continent alone and on foot.

That both outings turned into races adds almost superfluous drama: Neither Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott in 1911 nor Colin O’Brady and Lou Rudd in 2018 knew long beforehand that they would be in direct competition. All four expeditions faced the same deadly natural challenges, from frigid 50-mile-an-hour winds to whiteouts and treacherous ice ripples called sastrugi. But what really stands out in the storylines that Barone moves along in parallel are the huge differences in survival techniques and gear—even as the lack of wireless equipment, for instance, kills Scott and his companions, Rudd slogs along listening to audiobooks and O’Brady phones Paul Simon for a chat. The author points out other differences too, such as the contrast between Amundsen’s narrow motive to be first to the pole (the North Pole, originally, switched at the last moment after learning that Robert Peary had already gotten there) and Scott’s broader geological and scientific interests. She punctuates her narratives with maps, photos, and paired quotes from her four subjects, and she positively shovels endnotes and source references into the backmatter. The otherwise all-White, all male cast is relieved only by brief mentions of wives and latter-day women explorers and of Amundsen’s Netsilik Inuit advisers.

A riveting tribute to epic tests of men against the elements. (index) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-25780-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020



If Freedman wrote the history textbooks, we would have many more historians. Beginning with an engrossing description of the Boston Tea Party in 1773, he brings the reader the lives of the American colonists and the events leading up to the break with England. The narrative approach to history reads like a good story, yet Freedman tucks in the data that give depth to it. The inclusion of all the people who lived during those times and the roles they played, whether small or large are acknowledged with dignity. The story moves backwards from the Boston Tea Party to the beginning of the European settlement of what they called the New World, and then proceeds chronologically to the signing of the Declaration. “Your Rights and Mine” traces the influence of the document from its inception to the present ending with Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. The full text of the Declaration and a reproduction of the original are included. A chronology of events and an index are helpful to the young researcher. Another interesting feature is “Visiting the Declaration of Independence.” It contains a short review of what happened to the document in the years after it was written, a useful Web site, and a description of how it is displayed and protected today at the National Archives building in Washington, D.C. Illustrations from the period add interest and detail. An excellent addition to the American history collection and an engrossing read. (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-8234-1448-5

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2000




Logically pointing out that the American cowboy archetype didn’t spring up from nowhere, Sandler, author of Cowboys (1994) and other volumes in the superficial, if luxuriously illustrated, “Library of Congress Book” series, looks back over 400 years of cattle tending in North America. His coverage ranges from the livestock carried on Columbus’s second voyage to today’s herding-by-helicopter operations. Here, too, the generous array of dramatic early prints, paintings, and photos are more likely to capture readers’ imaginations than the generality-ridden text. But among his vague comments about the characters, values, and culture passed by Mexican vaqueros to later arrivals from the Eastern US, Sadler intersperses nods to the gauchos, llaneros, and other South American “cowmen,” plus the paniolos of Hawaii, and the renowned African-American cowboys. He also decries the role film and popular literature have played in suppressing the vaqueros’ place in the history of the American West. He tackles an uncommon topic, and will broaden the historical perspective of many young cowboy fans, but his glance at modern vaqueros seems to stop at this country’s borders. Young readers will get a far more detailed, vivid picture of vaquero life and work from the cowboy classics in his annotated bibliography. (Notes, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2001

ISBN: 0-8050-6019-7

Page Count: 116

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2000

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