The three men are Charles Darwin, Beagle Captain Robert FitzRoy, and a Tierra del Fuegian island Yahgan Indian taken hostage, along with several others, on an earlier Beagle voyage. In reality, the book is about this native, named Jemmy Button by FitzRoy, and only incidentally and speculatively about the other two. Button was a boy when FitzRoy brought him the England with the intention of educating him and the others, making them Christians, and returning them to South America to serve as bridges to culture. FitzRoy, himself a devout believer, would be aided and abetted by missionaries who later formed the Patagonian Mission. The well-dressed Button and his companions were subsequently returned to their homeland and, it seems, quickly reverted to the old life style. Years later we meet Button again as one of a group of natives persuaded or commanded to attend a missionary camp on one of the Falkland Islands and later returned. Still later, there is a harrowing massacre of missionaries for which a survivor blames Button. By this time, however, political sentiment and economic interests in the Falklands were not so sympathetic to the mission and the forced settlement of Indians: Nothing happened to Button—except that he died of smallpox in 1864, preceding the eventual extinction of the race itself. And that is the story that Marks, author of two novels published in the 1950's, who ``wildcats for oil and natural gas,'' embroiders with much psychologizing and much limning of Yaghan society as nature raw in tooth and claw (yet possessed, it seems, of a rich language). In the end we hear about the career setbacks and depressions that led to FitzRoy's suicide and read about Darwin's fame and fortunes. (Marks would like us to believe that FitzRoy and Darwin were tied in a lifelong tension of friendship/conflict.) True, there are accounts of incredible personalities, brave missionaries, and skilled sea captains, but the whole saga smacks of a very b&w late-night movie.

Pub Date: April 17, 1991

ISBN: 0-394-58818-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1991

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



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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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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