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A hokey but inspiring blend of personal narrative and scientific exploration.

Mallett (Theoretical Physics/Univ. of Connecticut) chronicles his quest to build a time machine, sparked by grief over his father’s premature death, in 1955.

The author was only ten, the oldest of four children in a happy, aspiring African-American family, when his father died of a heart attack at age 33. Two years later, that tragedy took on a different meaning for young Ronald when he read Classics Illustrated No. 133, a comic-book version of H.G. Wells’s science-fiction classic, The Time Machine. Mallett became determined to build his own time machine so that he could return to the days before May 22, 1955, and save his father. He pursued this quest despite bouts of depression that almost forced him to drop out of school. Early encounters with racism, especially while stationed in the South during his Air Force service, made him focus more intently on acquiring advanced math and computer skills. Back in the civilian world, he entered Penn State, majoring in physics. Mallett kept his long-time goal a close secret, knowing that it would be an impediment to any serious scientific career. But careful study of Einstein’s relativity theory convinced him that his dream was actually possible. The author interweaves the story of his scientific career with the drive to make his sci-fi dream of time travel come true. Eventually, he found that colleagues Stephen Hawking, Frank Tipler and Kip Thorne were investigating special circumstances in which time appeared to move backwards. Mallett began to explore the gravitational effects of a laser beam following a circular path. After complex calculations, he found his theory, an extrapolation of Einstein’s work, accepted by other physicists. Although his pipe dream of returning to save his father remains beyond reach, Mallett has achieved a significant scientific breakthrough.

A hokey but inspiring blend of personal narrative and scientific exploration.

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2006

ISBN: 1-56025-869-1

Page Count: 240

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2006

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

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

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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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