An intimate, sometimes striking photo-essay detailing the folkways of the Samburu, a warrior-based society of northern Kenya. Magor, a Kenyan-born model who studied design in England, lived among the Samburu for six years, recording the daily rhythms and significant ceremonies of this traditional culture, whose members depend on herds of cattle, goats, and camels for their survival. Living in semi-arid scrublands, the Samburu follow rigidly circumscribed patterns that dictate age- and gender-based divisions of labor, family and social organization, and the timing and enactment of rites of passage. The book's principle focus is on lmurran, the young warriors whose duties are to guard the community and its herds. Flamboyantly attired in ivory earrings, colored beads, bracelets, and feathers, their faces and upper bodies smeared with red ocher, they are photographed leaning upon their spears, chanting and leaping during a warrior's dance, and slitting a cow's vein for blood (which, along with milk and meat, forms the diet of the Samburu). Having gained the trust of her subjects, Magor photographed the circumcision rights performed on teenage boys, as well as the preparations for and aftermath of female circumcision performed on young girls before marriage. These pictures and their accompanying captions may be jarring to Western sensibilities, but Magor's writing is dispassionate and informative. Her camera also chronicles wedding ceremonies; rituals denoting the passage from warrior status to elder status (at which time a man can marry and take part in council meetings); and, poignantly, a private ceremony performed on a riverbank by a mother whose son is ready to move from her home. Also photographed or described are the more prosaic features of Samburu life: care of livestock, the hierarchial arrangement of huts in the villages based on the status of the elders, and the harsh but beautiful Kenyan landscape. With over 200 color photos, this is a well-documented record of one of the last remaining societies of its kind.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-8109-1943-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1994

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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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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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