Known to college students the world over for her Patterns of Culture. Ruth Benedict occupied or created a singular place for herself in the history of a young human science. Margaret Mead knew her first as a student, then as a colleague and friend, and now brings to this symposium of Mrs. Benedict's professional and often personal papers a tender and perceptive regard for her quest and its precious yield. The seeking woman comes to us first in an essay on childhood days, in the journals written sporadically from 1912 to 1916, in the poems, the best of which record the anguish of a marriage which brought no child and found the partners increasingly apart. After much probing, she found affinity with Boas and Sapir, and their discipline to which she could apply her poetic perceptions, and through which she could search for as yet undiscovered country. Dr. Mead sets forth numerous essays, introductions, letters from the field to her from Mrs. Benedict, to Sapir, to Franz that reveal this "figure in transition", so sensitive to the individual aspects of cultures, to the vision of other eyes. As the early "Anne Singleton" poems gave way to maturer offerings, so the contributions to anthropology gained a sureness and scope that left a lovely mark and opened new channels to human understanding. Dr. Mead's sensibility of interpretation is further intimation of her own stature as an outstanding contributor and indication that she has taken and carried the torch with valor. Belles, letters, autobiography, the history of a formative period in anthropology are encompassed here, and will be sought out by all students of civilized life.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 1959

ISBN: 1412818508

Page Count: 617

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1958


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



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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