A DIFFERENT MIRROR FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

A HISTORY OF MULTICULTURAL AMERICA

In either iteration, a provocative counter to conventional, blinkered views of our national story.

A classic framing of this country’s history from a multicultural perspective, clumsily cut and recast into more simplified language for young readers.

Veering away from the standard “Master Narrative” to tell “the story of a nation peopled by the world,” the violence- and injustice-laden account focuses on minorities, from African- Americans (“the central minority throughout our country’s history”), Mexicans and Native Americans to Japanese, Vietnamese, Sikh, Russian Jewish and Muslim immigrants. Stefoff reduces Takaki’s scholarly but fluid narrative (1993, revised 2008) to choppy sentences and sound-bite quotes. She also adds debatable generalizations, such as a sweeping claim that Native Americans “lived outside of white society’s borders,” and an incorrect one that the Emancipation Proclamation “freed the slaves.” Readers may take a stronger interest in their own cultural heritage from this broad picture of the United States as, historically, a tapestry of ethnic identities that are “separate but also shared”—but being more readable and, by page count at least, only about a third longer, the original version won’t be out of reach of much of the intended audience, despite its denser prose.

In either iteration, a provocative counter to conventional, blinkered views of our national story. (endnotes, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-60980-416-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Seven Stories

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

GETTYSBURG

THE TRUE ACCOUNT OF TWO YOUNG HEROES IN THE GREATEST BATTLE OF THE CIVIL WAR

Thorough to a fault, and for young readers at least, no replacement for Jim Murphy’s oldie but goodie The Long Road to...

Wagonloads of detail weigh down this overstuffed account of the Civil War’s most significant battle and its aftermath.

Martin builds his narrative around numerous eyewitness accounts, despite the implication of the subtitle. He covers events from the rival armies’ preliminary jockeying for position to Lee’s retreat, the heroic efforts to care for the thousands of wounded soldiers left behind, as well as the establishment some months later of the cemetery that was the occasion for Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. The battle itself, though, quickly becomes a dizzying tally of this regiment going here, that brigade charging there, the movements insufficiently supported by the small, hard-to-read battle maps. Overheated lines like “As the armies met in battle, the ground…soaked up the blood of Americans flowing into the soil” have a melodramatic effect. Moreover, as nearly everyone mentioned even once gets one or more period portraits, the illustrations become a tedious gallery of look-alike shots of scowling men with heavy facial hair. Still, the author does offer a cogent, carefully researched view of the battle and its significance in both the short and long terms.

Thorough to a fault, and for young readers at least, no replacement for Jim Murphy’s oldie but goodie The Long Road to Gettysburg (1992). (glossary, index, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: June 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-62087-532-2

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

I AM A SECRET SERVICE AGENT

MY LIFE SPENT PROTECTING THE PRESIDENT

A serviceable account of a tough job for tough-minded people—rewarding but with a heavy load of responsibility.

An agent who stood (as his 2014 memoir puts it) Within Arm’s Length of three presidents offers a pared-down version of his training and career.

Emmett reduces mention of family and domestic life to passing mentions, covers a post-retirement stint in the CIA in a few sketchy pages, and leaves out entirely the ax-grinding complaints about officious superiors and “politically correct” policies and practices that set the tone in his original account. What’s left is a stiff but not entirely humorless recounting of how he achieved his ambition to become a Secret Service agent—sparked in grade school by JFK’s assassination—after a tour of duty in the Marines. He then made his way up from investigating check fraud and counterfeiting (the Secret Service’s original raison d’être) to join the Presidential Protective Division to work both “shift” assignments and on more heavily armed Counter Assault Teams during the Bush and Clinton administrations. “Sometimes people think Secret Service agents are cold-blooded, steely-eyed bodyguards with large biceps and dark glasses,” he writes. But “real Secret Service agents do not wear sunglasses indoors.” As to the rest, readers can judge for themselves from his experiences and expressed attitudes. He closes with career-prep advice and a timeline that includes presidential assassinations, both attempted and successful, through 2009.

A serviceable account of a tough job for tough-minded people—rewarding but with a heavy load of responsibility. (Memoir. 12-15)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-13030-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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