SLAVERY

BONDAGE THROUGHOUT HISTORY

Contradictory statements, sweeping generalizations, and a general lack of focus make this history of slavery more an eye-glazer than an eye-opener. After asserting that "more often than not, slave and master were of the same ethnic or cultural group," Watkins (Gladiator, 1997) proceeds to note that the ancient Greeks, Romans, West African kingdoms, medieval Italians, Muslims, and, of course, European settlers in the Americas, all imported their slaves from elsewhere. He also mentions indentured labor in some cultures but not in America, is silent on the history of slavery in most Asian countries, and confuses the "Triangle Trade" that included European goods and ports with another triangle that did not. Except for occasional quoted or paraphrased passages from a handful of slave narratives, he seldom names specific sources for his information, and the pitifully inadequate eight-item bibliography isn't going to be much help to readers who want to delve more deeply into the subject. The drab, low-contrast illustrations feature sad-faced figures in mannered mini-dramas with captions like, "Greek warriors lead a captured girl and her baby into slavery," or "The Taino Indians would regret meeting Columbus." A final chapter on modern child slavery, including a short profile of murdered young activist Iqbal Masih, gives this a topical leg up on Ofosu-Appiah's People in Bondage: A World History of Slavery (1993), but Watkins has turned a heart- and gut-wrenching subject into a clumsy, extended term paper. (Nonfiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-395-92289-5

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2001

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AFTER THE LAST DOG DIED

THE TRUE-LIFE, HAIR-RAISING ADVENTURES OF DOUGLAS MAWSON AND HIS 1911-1914 ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION

This liberally illustrated survival tale makes reading as compelling as any of the recent accounts of Ernest Shackleton’s contemporaneous ventures. Unlike Shackleton, Australian geologist Mawson mounted his ill-starred expedition for (mostly) scientific purposes. Having set up base camp at Cape Denison, soon discovered to be “the windiest place in the world,” Mawson departed with a small party on sledges in November 1912. He returned alone and on foot the following February, having lost nearly all supplies, and both human companions (one, Bredeson hints, to vitamin-A poisoning from a forced diet of sled-dog livers), but surviving a 320-mile trek back. Supplemented by expedition photos of dim, windswept landscapes, and laced with horrifying details—at one point Mawson takes off his socks, and his soles peel off with them—this lesser-known, tragic episode from the golden age of Antarctic exploration won’t fail to give readers both chills and thrills. (roster, time line, resource lists, index) (Nonfiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-7922-6140-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2003

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THE CIVIL WAR AT SEA

In this companion to Portraits of War: Civil War Photographers and Their Work (1998), Sullivan presents an album of the prominent ships and men who fought on both sides, matched to an engrossing account of the war's progress: at sea, on the Mississippi, and along the South's well-defended coastline. In his view, the issue never was in doubt, for though the Confederacy fought back with innovative ironclads, sleek blockade runners, well-armed commerce raiders, and sturdy fortifications, from the earliest stages the North was able to seal off, and then take, one major southern port after another. The photos, many of which were made from fragile glass plates whose survival seems near-miraculous, are drawn from private as well as public collections, and some have never been published before. There aren't any action shots, since mid-19th-century photography required very long exposure times, but the author compensates with contemporary prints, plus crisp battle accounts, lucid strategic overviews, and descriptions of the technological developments that, by war's end, gave this country a world-class navy. He also profiles the careers of Matthew Brady and several less well-known photographers, adding another level of interest to a multi-stranded survey. (source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7613-1553-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Millbrook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

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