An important if sometimes-awkward study of two scientists who helped to change the world.



“Radioactivity was the first new property of matter discovered since Sir Isaac Newton defined the law of gravity in 1686,” and the work of Irène Curie and Lise Meitner in the early 20th century helped to open the door to modern physics.

Irène Curie was the firstborn child of the world’s “ ‘First Family’ of science.” Lise Meitner was the daughter of a Jewish lawyer in Vienna and a victim of Hitler’s anti-Semitic policies. Curie and Meitner, working independently, were research rivals, each seeking a name in the field of theoretical physics that was about to change the world. Conkling discusses the two scientists separately, Curie in the first several chapters, Meitner in the next several, and their stories come together in a final section when the race to create an atomic bomb was on. It’s an uneasy blend of biographies, though astute readers will see that it’s the science itself that links the stories, not a personal connection between Curie and Meitner. Readers interested in a more succinct and compelling look at Meitner’s work on fission than what’s presented here will find it in Steve Sheinkin’s Bomb (2012). Flat writing and too many pages of dense text unrelieved by photographs or other visuals mar a volume that might have been suspenseful.

An important if sometimes-awkward study of two scientists who helped to change the world. (timeline, glossary, who’s who, chapter notes, bibliography, for more information, index) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61620-415-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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Inspiring stories of successful 21st-century women.



From the Women of Power series

It’s not only men who can make millions and have an impact on society.

Sichol, who previously profiled the men behind Disney, Nike, Google, and Lego, now turns her attention to women with big ideas. Here, she introduces 15 female founders of successful companies, organizing her presentation into five different fields: food, health and beauty, science and technology, education, and clothing and fashion. From Kathleen King, the original baker of Tate’s Cookies, to Morgan DeBaun, founder of Blavity, her subjects are as varied as their paths to success. But, in an introduction, the author points out that certain commonalities connect these stories. She offers glimpses of childhood interests and abilities, gives examples of early adult experiences, and stresses turning points. Most of these entrepreneurs are still with their successful organizations; some have turned over major responsibility for day-to-day management, and a few have sold to larger companies and moved on. The organizations are wide-ranging, too: businesses selling products or offering personal services and nonprofits for feeding the hungry and encouraging girls to learn coding. Interspersed with the biographies are short segments, sometimes related biographies, sometimes other relevant information. These add substance but detract from the flow of the chronological narrative. The author concludes by encouraging her readers to act on their own ideas because passion and hard work can pay off.

Inspiring stories of successful 21st-century women. (source notes) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-64160-674-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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Lyrical writing focuses on the aftermath of the Holocaust, a vital, underaddressed aspect of survivor stories.



Following his liberation from the Buchenwald death camp, Romek didn’t know how to reclaim his humanity.

Romek’s childhood in his Polish shtetl of Skarżysko-Kamienna, where he was the youngest of six loving siblings, wasn’t wealthy, but it was idyllic. Skarżysko-Kamienna was “forests and birdsong,” with “the night sky stretching from one end of the horizon to the other.” His family was destroyed and their way of life obliterated with the Nazi invasion of Poland, and Romek lost not just memories, but the accompanying love. Unlike many Holocaust memoirs, this painfully lovely story begins in earnest after the liberation, when Romek was among 1,000 Jewish orphans, the Buchenwald Boys, in need of rehabilitation. Having suffered years of starvation, disease, and being treated as animals, the boys were nearly feral: They fought constantly, had forgotten how to use forks, and set fire to their French relief camp dormitory. Some adults thought they were irredeemable. With endless patience, care, and love, the mentors and social workers around them—themselves traumatized Holocaust survivors—brought Romek back from the brink. Even in a loving and protective environment, in a France where the boys were treated overwhelmingly kindly by the populace, it took time to remember goodness. Parallels between anti-Semitism and racism in the U.S. and Canada are gentle but explicit.

Lyrical writing focuses on the aftermath of the Holocaust, a vital, underaddressed aspect of survivor stories. (historical note, timeline) (Memoir. 12-14)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0600-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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