Dipping into the apparently endless stream of expatriate-in- Paris literature, Wiser (The Circle Tour, 1988, etc.; English/Univ. of Denver) offers a tiresome rehash of the lives of five intriguing women, all of whom have been better served elsewhere. In a narrative that spans the years 1844 through 1975, Wiser profiles Impressionist artist Mary Cassatt, author Edith Wharton, avant-garde publisher Caresse Crosby, doomed wife Zelda Fitzgerald, and entertainer Josephine Baker; all five passed significant portions of their lives in Paris. Along the way, there are stale musings about the beauty and social freedom of the city, and the usual cast of Paris-memoir characters (Gertrude Stein, Hemingway, Picasso, etc.). At the outset, Wiser explains that ``...I went looking for the common thread of connection to Paris, or to one another. There was no clear thread.'' The ensuing manuscript only emphasizes this point. There's no clear explanation of why these particular women should have their lives linked in one volume; no angle, apart from shared nationality and artistic leanings, to tie them together as subjects over whom Paris exerted a special pull. Cassatt arrived on her own, with grudging family approval. Wharton was fleeing a ``suffocating'' marriage. Crosby and Fitzgerald merely followed their husbands. Baker was lured from New York to star in a revue. Only Wharton and Crosby, sharing a common cousin, Walter Berry, had any sustained relationship, and a cold one at that. Four of the women liked dogs and couturier gowns, and three of them were buried in France. Not much there. Or here, for that matter. (Photographs—some seen.)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1991

ISBN: 0-393-02999-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 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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