An illuminating, readable travelogue and an ethical call to action.

British journalist and broadcaster Reeve (One Day in September: The Full Story of the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and the Israeli Revenge Operation “Wrath of God”, 2000, etc.) journeys along the southernmost border of the tropics as a follow-up to his expedition for the BBC series Equator.

The Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer bookend a section of the globe that is 3,222 miles wide, “a home to extraordinary natural biodiversity, but an overwhelming concentration of human suffering.” In this region, only Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan can claim to have economies described as “high-income.” Aiming to explore the various socioeconomic conditions plaguing this region and to understand the ailments of these lands, Reeve begins his journey in Africa and moves east to Australia and South America, finishing in the favelas (slums) of São Paulo, considered one of the most dangerous places on the planet. Yes, there’s breathtaking scenery en route, but this is travel writing of a sterner sort. The heart of Reeve’s narrative beats in his encounters with the people of Capricorn, including the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, Namibian prostitutes, gem miners in Madagascar, Australian Aboriginals and indigenous tribes in Chile, Paraguay and Argentina. He provides a balanced look at their plights and does an excellent job confronting the issues that have wreaked such havoc on this region, including environmental changes, globalization, AIDS and the lingering effects of colonialism. In South America, indigenous tribes who have lived in the mountains for centuries are now being chased off their land with bulldozers. These newly impoverished people will be forced into the slums of the nearest cities while the forests they lived in are destroyed to make way for soy farms producing biofuel. This grimly ironic facet to the world’s sustainable-energy discussion is one of the many disheartening human and environmental issues Reeve brings to light.

An illuminating, readable travelogue and an ethical call to action.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-84607-386-1

Page Count: 376

Publisher: BBC Books/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2009



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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