TIME MACHINE

THE STORY OF H.G. WELLS

Boerst’s biography will surprise readers familiar with Wells’s tales of adventure and war. This spirited, original novelist was “argumentative in nature, often allowing his temper to interfere with clear thinking.” His life was fraught with sexual escapades, and he had an overriding dedication to the creation of a one-world government and the propagation of socialist policies. Grossly unproductive as a draper’s apprentice, he turned to the world of academics, but his rebellious nature and outspoken preference for socialism led to his expulsion. Wells then developed a writing routine that resulted in countless novels about natural science, ecology, history, philosophy, religion, sexuality and morality, socialism, and wars. His goal was “to convince people to act and think in new ways”; to that end he often purposefully inserted a strong and radical social message in his work to shake up the old order. Boerst offers a glimpse into his subject’s scandalous private life and his controversial social philosophies, while numerous black-and-white photographs of Wells’s lovers are testament to his belief in open marriage, and the annotated bibliography eloquently demonstrates his vision. (chronology, glossary, bibliography, index) (Biography. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 1999

ISBN: 1-883846-40-4

Page Count: 112

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1999

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AT HOME WITH THE PRESIDENTS

At Home With The Presidents (176 pp.; $12.95; Sept. 24; 0-471-25300-6) Morris offers succinct biographical information and anecdotes about all 41 presidents with brief information about homes they grew up it, historic sites dedicated to them, or libraries in which their artifacts are housed. Included are small pictures of the presidents and some of the buildings discussed. Readers will find the book of limited use for research, since the sources for quotations are not given, there is no index, and material considered controversial is not attributed. Appearing out of context are statements such as “George Washington adored his older brother” and “George’s mother was jealous of the two brother’s relationship.” The information on historic sites is upbeat but bland, and could have come right out of tourist brochures. (b&w photographs, illustrations, further reading) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 1999

ISBN: 0-471-25300-6

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Wiley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1999

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PICK AND SHOVEL POET

THE JOURNEYS OF PASCAL D’ANGELO

In 1910, Pascal D’Angelo and his father left the harsh Abruzzi region of Italy to escape its impossible poverty and journey to the United States; Pascal was 16 years old. Murphy, a graceful narrator of history, presents the life of the peasant as he journeyed through life in the new country. He never became wealthy or even comfortable, but did leave an impression with his poetry—and this from a man who became literate in English as an adult, largely self-taught (and librarians will be delighted to know that they helped him). D’Angelo also wrote an autobiography, Son of Italy, relating to life as an immigrant and the hard—largely pick-and-shovel—work he did to earn a scant living. Such a telling should resonate when readers think about why people come to a new country where they do not speak the language, do not know the customs, and too often are alone, even (or especially) today. The protagonist does not come through as a sharp personality; he is somewhat shadowy against the times and places of his life. He stands out as a symbol rather than a full person. But his accomplishments are certainly large. Archival photos are interesting but sometimes captions are non-indicative; what do they mean? When and where were they taken? There are two photos of D’Angelo. As usual, Murphy provides details that help set the story. A biography of a common man that is also the history of a civilization and its times. (index and bibliography) (Biography. 9-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2000

ISBN: 0-395-77610-4

Page Count: 162

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2000

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