A riveting first book by Patzert, who was captain of one of ships that ran refugee European Jews into British-protected Palestine before Israeli independence; not just a sea story, but a moral adventure as well. Rudolph Patzert, a veteran seaman by the end of WW II, was looking for a ship to command. As he notes in the prologue, he had witnessed the anti-Semitism of the Nazis in Hamburg in 1934 as a young seaman. So, when asked to captain the Paducah, a converted gunboat bringing refugees from the DP camps of Europe to Palestine in May 1947, he had several good reasons for taking the assignment. He finds himself with a largely inexperienced crew and a balky, 45-year-old ship. But over the course of the voyage from Miami to New York, the Azores, Lisbon, the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, and finally to Bulgaria, where they take 1,388 refugees on board, the crew finds its sea legs and adjusts to the ship's idiosyncracies. And Patzert, a non-Jew, finds the reasons for his commitment to these battered, shattered people, survivors of the death camps and ghettos. When the ship reaches Palestine, all of its occupants are interned by the British, who attack the unarmed boat and its human cargo with dismaying ferocity; Patzert and his crew must masquerade as refugees themselves to avoid arrest. In the internment camps of Cyprus, he and his men share the horrid conditions inflicted on the already weak and weary Jews by the British Army, which only confirmed him in his conviction that the mission was just. Finally, he and some of his men are transferred to Palestine where they escape. In the book's epilogue, he tells what happened to some of them after Israel achieved independence. All of these events are recounted in a cool, measured prose that sweeps the reader along gently in its wake. Often exciting as an adventure tale, this is also a satisfying story of a modest man finding himself capable of the highest level of self-sacrifice.

Pub Date: April 1, 1994

ISBN: 1-55750-679-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Naval Institute Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1994

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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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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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