FROZEN SECRETS

ANTARCTICA REVEALED

No ice crystal is left unturned in this sweeping historical and scientific examination of Antarctica. It's a relatively new "discovery"; the first person to set foot on the continent was a Briton in 1821. Walker briefly chronicles the ill-fated expeditions of such explorers as Scott and Shackleton, as well as Amundsen's successful trek to the South Pole. Although several nations have been engaged in serious research on the continent for more than 50 years, Antarctica remains a mysterious scientific frontier. The author explains Antarctica's unique place in international diplomacy and collaboration with the signing of the Antarctic Treaty. The text succinctly discusses complex discoveries made in such fields as biology, climatology, geology, oceanography and paleontology and the implications these discoveries have on understanding the planet as a whole. Attention is also given to the difficult, often dangerous conditions under which scientists must live and work. Photographs, maps and other illustrations, many in color, appear on every one of the attractively designed pages. Informative, insightful and engaging, this is an exceptional introduction to our southernmost continent. (glossary, source notes, bibliography, further reading and websites, index) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-58013-607-5

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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Painstaking, judicious, and by no means exculpatory but with hints of sympathy.

BONNIE AND CLYDE

THE MAKING OF A LEGEND

A portrait of two victims of the Great Depression whose taste for guns and fast cars led to short careers in crime but longer ones as legends.

Blumenthal (Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2016, etc.) makes a determined effort to untangle a mare’s nest of conflicting eyewitness accounts, purple journalism, inaccurate police reports, and self-serving statements from relatives and cohorts of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Though the results sometimes read as dry recitations of names and indistinguishable small towns, she makes perceptive guesses about what drove them and why they have become iconic figures, along with retracing their early lives, two-year crime spree, and subsequent transformations into doomed pop-culture antiheroes. She does not romanticize the duo—giving many of their murder victims faces through individual profiles, for instance, and describing wounds in grisly detail—but does convincingly argue that their crimes and characters (particularly Bonnie’s) were occasionally exaggerated. Blumenthal also wrenchingly portrays the desperation that their displaced, impoverished families must have felt while pointedly showing how an overtaxed, brutal legal system can turn petty offenders into violent ones. A full version of Bonnie’s homespun ballad “The Story of Bonnie and Clyde” and notes on the subsequent lives of significant relatives, accomplices, and lawmen join meaty lists of sources and interviews at the end.

Painstaking, judicious, and by no means exculpatory but with hints of sympathy. (photos, timeline, author’s note, source notes, bibliography, index) (Biography. 12-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47122-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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THE STORY OF BRITAIN

FROM THE NORMAN CONQUEST TO THE EUROPEAN UNION

Tricked out with a ribbon, foil highlights on the jacket and portrait galleries at each chapter’s head by Ireland’s leading illustrator, this handsome package offers British readers an orgy of self-congratulatory historical highlights. These are borne along on a tide of invented epithets (“ ‘Foreigners!’ spat Boudicca”), fictive sound bites (“Down with the Committee of Safety!”) and homiletic observations (“By beating Napoléon the British showed how strong they were when they worked together”). Aside from occasional stumbles like the slave trade or the Irish potato famine, Britain’s history—from the Magna Carta to the dissolution of the biggest empire “there had ever been”—unfolds as a steady trot toward ever-broader religious toleration, voting rights and personal freedom. American audiences will likely be surprised to see Mary Queen of Scots characterized as “one of the most famous of all monarchs,” and the Revolutionary War get scarcely more play than the Charge of the Light Brigade. It makes a grand tale, though, even when strict accuracy sometimes takes a back seat to truthiness. Includes timelines, lists of monarchs and an index but no source lists. (Nonfiction. 11-13)

 

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5122-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2010

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