THE LIFE AND DEATH OF ADOLF HITLER

Opening with an overview of dictators through history, Giblin (The Amazing Life of Benjamin Franklin, 2000, etc.), always a graceful, unemotional stylist, traces the life and actions of the leader of “the thousand year Reich” in a straightforward and lucid manner. His narrative explores three basic questions: “What sort of man could plan and carry out such horrendous schemes? How was he able to win support for his deadly ventures? And why did no one try to stop him until it was almost too late?” Citing Adolf’s middle-class childhood, he looks beyond the standard labels of barbarian, savage, or mad man. (These qualities might provide excuse for his political acts: crimes against humanity, genocide, and a world destroyed.) Completing the history of the rise and fall of Germany, the Nazis, Hitler, and his cronies, Giblin follows with information about modern Nazi followers: skinheads, white power groups, Aryan nation members, and the like. The study cries out for much better maps; places like the Rhineland, Sudentenland, the Ruhr, to name a few, are mentioned in the text but not set in their geography—necessary in a time when young people seem to have little knowledge of the globe and its places and peoples. The rest of the illustrations are well chosen in this exemplary twin biography of a man and modern history. In a time when people, young and old, are unaware or have forgotten that people like Hitler, his nation of followers, and his high command existed, Giblin’s carefully researched account is more important than ever. It is so readable that it should hold younger readers and educate older ones who may need their brains refilled with the facts of history. An essential purchase. (Nonfiction. 11-15)

Pub Date: April 22, 2002

ISBN: 0-395-90371-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2002

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An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist.

MAYA LIN

THINKING WITH HER HANDS

One of the world’s most celebrated creators of civic architecture is profiled in this accessible, engaging biography.

Similar in style and format to her Everybody Paints!: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family (2014) and Wideness and Wonder: The Life and Art of Georgia O’Keeffe (2011), Rubin’s well-researched profile examines the career, creative processes, and career milestones of Maya Lin. Rubin discusses at length Lin’s most famous achievement, designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Chinese-American Lin was a reserved college student who entered and won the competition to design and build the memorial. Her youth and ethnicity were subjects of great controversy, and Rubin discusses how Lin fought to ensure her vision of the memorial remained intact. Other notable works by Lin, including the Civil Rights Memorial for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, a library and chapel for the Children’s Defense Fund, the Museum of Chinese in America, and the outdoor Wave Field project are examined but not in as much depth as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Attractively designed, the book is illustrated extensively with color photos and drawings.

An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist. (bibliography, source notes, index) (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0837-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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BRANFORD MARSALIS

JAZZ MUSICIAN

A dry but serviceable look at the career of the oldest Marsalis brother, currently enjoying an enviable gig as musical director of the Tonight show. Despite the obvious talents of Wynton and his other brothers, Branford's mother allows that he was the child with the most natural musical ability; after other career options failed to pan out, he turned pro in 1980, toured with Art Blakey and other greats, and helped to spark a revival of popular interest in jazz. He is a versatile musician, playing both clubs and arenas, composing for (even appearing in) films, touring with pop singer Sting, recording with his own band and others; his loose, cheery style is said to complement brother Wynton's more serious, controlled approach. Basing his narrative entirely on secondary sources, mostly magazine articles, Bernotas (Spike Lee: Film Maker, 1993) barely mentions Marsalis's private life, discusses his music only in general terms, and salts his narrative with plenty of sound-bite quotes. This last, plus a tendency (common in jazz writing) to mention nearly every player in every band, makes for occasionally laborious reading; still, this is the fullest account yet of a musician who is sure to become more popular and influential as time goes on. End notes; index; source list; chronology and discography (through early 1994); 12 full-page b&w photos (not seen). (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-89490-495-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Enslow

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1994

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