An interesting firsthand account of the physical and emotional recovery of a town.

BLOWN AWAY

TORNADO IN A SMALL TOWN

McHugh’s (Death Matters, 2009, etc.) fourth book offers a primary historical record of a small town hit by a violent and deadly tornado.

McHugh describes 1940s Shelburn, Ind., as a quintessential Midwestern town: a population of roughly 1,250 living in a large geographical area. His detailed chronicle of Shelburn’s collective response to a horrific natural disaster drops the reader directly into the struggling community. The author gives a voice to each of those who stepped forward to help their neighbors’ battered spirits and properties. McHugh cites a meteorological record of tornado destruction throughout the United States, which contextualizes the severity of the one Shelburn endured. The author, a 19-year-old ambulance driver at the time of the storm, provides a firsthand account of his neighbors’ suffering and tenacity with the lens of one accustomed to personal tragedy. McHugh smartly allows the emotions of the story to develop organically in the voices of those he interviewed. While the book may serve as a resource for Shelburn’s historical record, as well as a guide to preparing for a tornado, it also encapsulates the fortitude of the residents. Many neighboring communities met Shelburn’s need so abundantly the Red Cross no longer accepted food donations just one day after the storm. McHugh reveals these standout facts to provide a reflection of the community’s heart. While rebuilding the town was a dynamic undertaking, Shelburn’s people did the work without questioning one another’s motives or agendas. In the true Midwestern spirit of working together to build and rebuild, McHugh lets his neighbors and friends tell their stories in their own ways. 

An interesting firsthand account of the physical and emotional recovery of a town.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1456494100

Page Count: 100

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A top-notch political memoir and serious exercise in practical politics for every reader.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

A PROMISED LAND

In the first volume of his presidential memoir, Obama recounts the hard path to the White House.

In this long, often surprisingly candid narrative, Obama depicts a callow youth spent playing basketball and “getting loaded,” his early reading of difficult authors serving as a way to impress coed classmates. (“As a strategy for picking up girls, my pseudo-intellectualism proved mostly worthless,” he admits.) Yet seriousness did come to him in time and, with it, the conviction that America could live up to its stated aspirations. His early political role as an Illinois state senator, itself an unlikely victory, was not big enough to contain Obama’s early ambition, nor was his term as U.S. Senator. Only the presidency would do, a path he painstakingly carved out, vote by vote and speech by careful speech. As he writes, “By nature I’m a deliberate speaker, which, by the standards of presidential candidates, helped keep my gaffe quotient relatively low.” The author speaks freely about the many obstacles of the race—not just the question of race and racism itself, but also the rise, with “potent disruptor” Sarah Palin, of a know-nothingism that would manifest itself in an obdurate, ideologically driven Republican legislature. Not to mention the meddlings of Donald Trump, who turns up in this volume for his idiotic “birther” campaign while simultaneously fishing for a contract to build “a beautiful ballroom” on the White House lawn. A born moderate, Obama allows that he might not have been ideological enough in the face of Mitch McConnell, whose primary concern was then “clawing [his] way back to power.” Indeed, one of the most compelling aspects of the book, as smoothly written as his previous books, is Obama’s cleareyed scene-setting for how the political landscape would become so fractured—surely a topic he’ll expand on in the next volume.

A top-notch political memoir and serious exercise in practical politics for every reader.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6316-9

Page Count: 768

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

more