Covering Yeltsin's career from his childhood in the Urals through the December 1993 election ratifying Russia's new constitution, this brisk, brief biography ultimately skimps on background material; readers without real knowledge of the old Communist system may be somewhat baffled. Such world-altering events as the dissolution of the USSR have no resonance, and this experienced biographer fails to explicate aspects of Yeltsin's personality and behavior, or to explore his motives in a meaningful way. The writing is clear and lively, and Otfinoski cuts through complex political events to make them accessible. The book provides enough facts for reports, or to bring outdated references up to the present. Nevertheless, with the Russian political situation so unsettled, this book may have a short shelf life. (B&W photos, chronology, bibliography, index)(Nonfiction/biography. 12+)

Pub Date: March 15, 1995

ISBN: 1-56294-478-9

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Millbrook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1995

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A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today.


A beautifully heart-wrenching graphic-novel adaptation of actor and activist Takei’s (Lions and Tigers and Bears, 2013, etc.) childhood experience of incarceration in a World War II camp for Japanese Americans.

Takei had not yet started school when he, his parents, and his younger siblings were forced to leave their home and report to the Santa Anita Racetrack for “processing and removal” due to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. The creators smoothly and cleverly embed the historical context within which Takei’s family’s story takes place, allowing readers to simultaneously experience the daily humiliations that they suffered in the camps while providing readers with a broader understanding of the federal legislation, lawsuits, and actions which led to and maintained this injustice. The heroes who fought against this and provided support to and within the Japanese American community, such as Fred Korematsu, the 442nd Regiment, Herbert Nicholson, and the ACLU’s Wayne Collins, are also highlighted, but the focus always remains on the many sacrifices that Takei’s parents made to ensure the safety and survival of their family while shielding their children from knowing the depths of the hatred they faced and danger they were in. The creators also highlight the dangerous parallels between the hate speech, stereotyping, and legislation used against Japanese Americans and the trajectory of current events. Delicate grayscale illustrations effectively convey the intense emotions and the stark living conditions.

A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today. (Graphic memoir. 14-adult)

Pub Date: July 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-60309-450-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Top Shelf Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2019

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A well-balanced account of the Cuban leader's life and career, with a generous amount of background information and convincing explanations of Castro's several changes of image- -idealistic student revolutionary, romantic bandit chief, leader of the nonaligned nations, grizzled autocrat. Particularly effective is Brown's fair-minded presentation of Castro's populist measures and appeals to Cuban nationalism. His rigidities and failures also get their full due, from antidemocratic politics at home to African involvements. Although the story has some exciting elements—e.g., the ``Alphabetizers'' literacy campaign—Brown keeps it at a general level, with few individual experiences (except for Castro's own) to enliven it. Well-placed b&w photos with informative captions; chronology; notes; bibliography; index. (Biography. 12+)

Pub Date: March 1, 1994

ISBN: 1-56294-385-5

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Millbrook

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1994

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