Solid history that doesn’t shy away from difficult truths and important moral and political lessons.

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VIETNAM

A HISTORY OF THE WAR

An overview of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War.

When the French surrendered to Vietminh troops in 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower coined the term “domino theory” and continued the French war to prevent the toppling of countries in Southeast Asia and contain the spread of communism. Only a nonfiction master craftsman can take such complicated history and craft a slim volume so clear, readable, and fascinating without sacrificing significant historical detail and nuance. Freedman covers President Lyndon B. Johnson’s escalation of the war after the Gulf of Tonkin incident (which probably never happened), the growth of the American anti-war movement, the My Lai massacre, the shootings at Kent State, Martin Luther King Jr.’s anti-war speeches, the Watergate scandal, and the unraveling of the Nixon presidency. Early chapters detail Vietnam’s “long road to revolution,” and the volume concludes with its moral lessons, including U.S. Ambassador Peter Peterson’s reflection that “the war could have been averted had we made the effort to understand the politics of the place.” Abundant black-and-white photographs, many of them now-iconic images of the war, round out the volume. Where Steve Sheinkin’s Most Dangerous (2015) offers a majestic feat of historical storytelling, this volume offers masterful concision instead.

Solid history that doesn’t shy away from difficult truths and important moral and political lessons. (timeline, source notes, glossary, bibliography, picture credits, index) (Nonfiction. 10-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3658-3

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist.

MAYA LIN

THINKING WITH HER HANDS

One of the world’s most celebrated creators of civic architecture is profiled in this accessible, engaging biography.

Similar in style and format to her Everybody Paints!: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family (2014) and Wideness and Wonder: The Life and Art of Georgia O’Keeffe (2011), Rubin’s well-researched profile examines the career, creative processes, and career milestones of Maya Lin. Rubin discusses at length Lin’s most famous achievement, designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Chinese-American Lin was a reserved college student who entered and won the competition to design and build the memorial. Her youth and ethnicity were subjects of great controversy, and Rubin discusses how Lin fought to ensure her vision of the memorial remained intact. Other notable works by Lin, including the Civil Rights Memorial for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, a library and chapel for the Children’s Defense Fund, the Museum of Chinese in America, and the outdoor Wave Field project are examined but not in as much depth as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Attractively designed, the book is illustrated extensively with color photos and drawings.

An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist. (bibliography, source notes, index) (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0837-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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FIVE THOUSAND YEARS OF SLAVERY

Sandwiched between telling lines from the epic of Gilgamesh (“…the warrior’s daughter, the young man’s bride, / he uses her, no one dares to oppose him”) and the exposure of a migrant worker–trafficking ring in Florida in the mid-1990s, this survey methodically presents both a history of the slave trade and what involuntary servitude was and is like in a broad range of times and climes. Though occasionally guilty of overgeneralizing, the authors weave their narrative around contemporary accounts and documented incidents, supplemented by period images or photos and frequent sidebar essays. Also, though their accounts of slavery in North America and the abolition movement in Britain are more detailed than the other chapters, the practice’s past and present in Africa, Asia and the Pacific—including the modern “recruitment” of child soldiers and conditions in the Chinese laogai (forced labor camps)—do come in for broad overviews. For timeliness, international focus and, particularly, accuracy, this leaves Richard Watkins’ Slavery: Bondage Throughout History (2001) in the dust as a first look at a terrible topic. (timeline, index; notes and sources on an associated website) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-88776-914-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Tundra

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2010

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