A wise and affecting memoir, remarkable for its honesty and lack of self-pity, of a life lived in interesting times by Czech- born feminist historian Bell. The daughter of Jewish parents who converted to Lutheranism in their youth, Bell describes her idyllic prewar childhood in Tropau, a provincial town in Czechoslovakia. The only child of a prominent local lawyer and his much younger, beautiful, and talented wife, Bell enjoyed a childhood rich in friendship, family associations, and love. But when Germany marched into the Sudetenland, and the rest of the world stood by, the idyll ended. Regarded as Jewish by the Nazis and penalized by the newly enacted racial laws, the family decided to emigrate. Taking advantage of the only visa available—for domestic work—Susan and her mother left for England in 1939, hoping once there to arrange a visa for her father; but the Holocaust took him away forever. In England, while her mother worked as a maid in a succession of households until the visa rules changed, Susan attended local schools, experiencing all the hardships of wartime England as well as the more usual ups and downs of adolescence. After a brief and disillusioning visit to a newly liberated Communist Czechoslovakia, Susan returned to England, where she spent two years in a hospital and on crutches recovering from TB brought on by the poor diet and living conditions of the postwar period. Marriage finally brought her to California, where, a late bloomer and nearly 40, she began a distinguished academic career as a historian. Friends, family, and associates are vividly evoked, as are the difficult times Bell lived through, but it is she herself, modest and self-deprecating, who is the real heroine of this poignant story of great loss and some gain.

Pub Date: July 29, 1991

ISBN: 0-525-93314-X

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1991

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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