Subtitled “A concise guide to a century of contrast and change,” with “concise” as the key word, this slim survey takes sweeping, single-spread glances at wars, the decline of empires, show business, the battle for racial and sexual equality, the globalization of US culture, and other major themes of this century. Underscoring the text’s generalizations, the many full-color photographs are chosen to create pointed juxtapositions, matching, for instance, Marlene Dietrich to Buzz Lightyear, or impoverished parents and children in 1912 London and in modern Somalia. Selected events are highlighted both in chronologies on every spread and along a timeline that spans the last four pages. Too scanty for basic reference, and employing oversimplification (as well as the same photograph of Mickey Mouse twice) to a fault” “the culture of Hollywood, represented by the smiling face of Mickey Mouse, became the culture of the whole world”—this provides only a slim framework on which to hang some understanding of recent history. (charts, chronology, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 17, 1999

ISBN: 0-19-521488-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1999



This entry in the Oxford Portraits series is both very good and very useful. White presents a clear biography of the Supreme Court justice who served in the Civil War, studied law, and lived long in the shadow of his famous writer father of the same name. By the time he came to the Supreme Court, he was already 60 years old, but served for three decades more. White creates a vivid portrait of this scholarly and philosophical legal thinker while including rich details of his intellectual but reserved home life and his affectionate flirtations with many women. More than that, readers will absorb a history of the development of legal education, the growth of the Supreme Court, and how law unfolds as a study and a discipline. White is especially felicitous in explaining how the elegance of Holmes’s prose occasionally obscured the legal point he was making. Quotations from Holmes’s writing and picture captions with further details add to the story, and not the least of its accomplishments is to show a man who began the greatest of his career challenges when he was already perceived of as old. Excellent. (chronology, further reading, index) (Biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 1999

ISBN: 0-19-511667-4

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999



Marguerite Henry died barely two years ago, after living the life of which most writers dream: She wrote from the time she was young, her parents encouraged her, she published early and often, and her books were honored and loved in her lifetime. Her hobby, she said, was words, but it was also her life and livelihood. Her research skills were honed by working in her local library, doing book repair. Her husband Sidney supported and encouraged her work, and they traveled widely as she carefully researched the horses on Chincoteague and the burros in the Grand Canyon. She worked in great harmony with her usual illustrator, Wesley Dennis, and was writing up until she died. Collins is a bit overwrought in his prose, but Henry comes across as strong and engaging as she must have been in person. Researchers will be delighted to find her Newbery acceptance speech included in its entirety. (b&w photos, bibliography, index) (Biography. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 10, 1999

ISBN: 1-883846-39-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1999

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