An eye-opening look at a fascinating era in Israeli history and what happens when a child is part of a sociopolitical...

WE WERE THE FUTURE

A MEMOIR OF THE KIBBUTZ

One woman’s remembrances of youth in the kibbutz.

Neeman was born in 1960 in Kibbutz Yehiam, a particularly vulnerable and nonarable piece of land when it was first settled in the 1940s. The author describes not only her own experiences of growing up in kibbutz culture, but also the violent and activist story behind the concept. In a socialist and humanist experiment quite removed from any religious connection to Judaism, the founders of the kibbutz were dedicated to communal living, which included the group-rearing of all children. Neeman, like all of her peers, only saw her parents for just under two hours per day. The rest of the time they lived in tiny communal groups—the author’s was called the Narcissus Group—which did everything together, from sleeping to showering, without regard for gender or individuality. While many of her early memories are bucolic and whimsical, there is a continual contrast to the utter violence into which the kibbutz was born and the threat under which it still lived throughout Neeman’s childhood. Located near the Lebanese border, Kibbutz Yehiam spent much of 1948 warding off sieges by the Arab Liberation Army, while a lack of food and water were also constant threats. Later, only through backbreaking labor was the land reclaimed from its original rocky character, allowing crops of bananas and other foods. Neeman left the kibbutz at age 12 to enter a collective educational institution, another twist in her story. Though the author is stoic in her attitude toward her youth, it is clear that the experiment in collective education left the children with great emotional and social gaps. Her narrative leaves an impression that she is still struggling to understand how this unusual upbringing shaped and affected her.

An eye-opening look at a fascinating era in Israeli history and what happens when a child is part of a sociopolitical experiment.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4683-1356-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Overlook

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

INTO THE WILD

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

Did you like this book?

more