A delightfully captivating swatch of autobiography from the author of Kiss. Kiss, Switch Bitch and many others. Schoolboy Dahl wanted adventure. Classes bored him, there was work to be had in Africa, and war clouds loomed on the world's horizons. He finds himself with a trainee's job with Shell Oil of East Africa and winds up in what is now Tanzania. Then war comes in 1939 and Dahl's adventures truly begin. At the war's outbreak, Dahl volunteers for the RAF, signing on to be a fighter pilot. Wounded in the Libyan desert, he spends six months recuperating in a military hospital, then rejoins his unit in Greece, only to be driven back by the advancing Germans. On April 20, 1941, he goes head on against the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Athens. On-target bio installment with, one hopes, lots more of this engrossing life to come.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1986

ISBN: 0142413836

Page Count: 209

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1986



Paulsen recalls personal experiences that he incorporated into Hatchet (1987) and its three sequels, from savage attacks by moose and mosquitoes to watching helplessly as a heart-attack victim dies. As usual, his real adventures are every bit as vivid and hair-raising as those in his fiction, and he relates them with relish—discoursing on “The Fine Art of Wilderness Nutrition,” for instance: “Something that you would never consider eating, something completely repulsive and ugly and disgusting, something so gross it would make you vomit just looking at it, becomes absolutely delicious if you’re starving.” Specific examples follow, to prove that he knows whereof he writes. The author adds incidents from his Iditarod races, describes how he made, then learned to hunt with, bow and arrow, then closes with methods of cooking outdoors sans pots or pans. It’s a patchwork, but an entertaining one, and as likely to win him new fans as to answer questions from his old ones. (Autobiography. 10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-32650-5

Page Count: 150

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000



Historian Bober (Abigail Adams, 1995, etc.) clearly and gracefully examines the exciting pre-Revolutionary period in Georgian England and its 13 North American colonies. A "braided" organization—one chapter devoted to Britain, starting with the accession of George III; the following to the events of the soon-to-be nation, culminating with Independence—charts the social and political ideas, actions, and personalities that changed history. With rapid-fire style and syntax, the author builds appropriate suspense, rendering the events and players vividly and moving the story along quickly. The large cast of characters is shown with all its faults as well as strengths—including George III, a decent family man out of his intellectual depth in a decidedly upended era. Many other historical figures—some famous, some not—are sketched in fine detail. And the book is replete with period illustrations of people and places, which with its clear identifications, provides a very helpful complement to the solid text. Bober asks: "What forces were at work that swept these people into a conflict that ultimately precipitated a shocking revolution and severed the ties between Britain and her American colonies?" Here is a quite successful attempt to explain just that. Stimulating, lively, and informative. Excellent documentation includes index (not seen), chronology, reference notes, list of characters, and an extensive bibliography. (Nonfiction. 12+)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-81329-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2001

Close Quickview