Comprehensive and densely detailed—too much so for general readers, but sure to please Civil War buffs.



Hyperfocused account of General Sherman’s swath of destruction through the hotbed of the Confederacy.

While Sherman’s advance on Atlanta and subsequent March to the Sea is well-known, less well-advertised is his slog to Columbia, S.C., where his troops perhaps inadvertently but unapologetically burned down the town in what proved to be a spectacularly successful effort to demoralize the enemy. South Carolina native and historian Elmore (Columbia Civil War Landmarks, 2011) has thoroughly scoured the archives regarding these decisive few months of the Civil War, beginning in the fall of 1864, when Sherman continued his infiltration of enemy territory after the fall of Atlanta, marching to the sea in a display to “make Georgia howl,” all the while foraging liberally from the land, avoiding Confederate lures into battle and keeping the Rebel army guessing where he would strike next, Charleston or Columbia. Elmore evenhandedly reports on both sides of the conflict—e.g., he ably shows how Sherman continually instructed his confident troops in the art of foraging, which may strike modern ears as remarkably respectful in a time of war, yet he was also not averse to turning a blind eye to the federals’ urge for taking revenge on the “traitor state.” Sherman moved with astonishingly little resistance through the swampy land, turning railroad ties into “Sherman hairpins” and ravaging the countryside, keeping an eye on the prize: Columbia, the manufacturing and rail hub of the Confederacy. Abandoned by the Rebels, the defenseless city was taken and set ablaze on February 17, 1865; cheering blacks lined the streets to welcome the conquerors with plenty of liquor and food. Elmore also provides extensive appendices, including a chronology of events, organization of opposing forces and a short essay, “Did Sherman wish to spare Charleston?”

Comprehensive and densely detailed—too much so for general readers, but sure to please Civil War buffs.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9841073-7-7

Page Count: 624

Publisher: Joggling Board Press

Review Posted Online: July 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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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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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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