Interesting anecdotes mitigate the missed opportunities in this history.

THE SHELTER AND THE FENCE

WHEN 982 HOLOCAUST REFUGEES FOUND SAFE HAVEN IN AMERICA

Primary sources enliven this history of the New York state refugee camp that housed nearly 1,000 people displaced by the Nazis.

In 1944, a U.S. Navy ship brings 982 displaced people from Italy to New York’s Fort Ontario in Oswego. The vast majority—874—are Jews, the rest are Christians, and all are refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe. They’re the beneficiaries of a far too limited American program to help some victims of horrific persecution. Augmented by photographs and drawing on first-person accounts and government records, this is a history of European refugees, many of whom are death-camp survivors, who exist in a middle ground between immigrant and prisoner. They’ve signed agreements acknowledging that they’re “guests” who aren’t allowed to work and who’ll be returned to Europe at the war’s end. But it’s still upsetting that they’re confined in the camp. In creating the camp, the War Relocation Authority drew on its expertise in running the Japanese concentration camps (called “internment camps” in the text) in the U.S.; after pointing this out, the history doesn’t ask any of the uncomfortable questions thus raised. The judgment of the government’s treatment of the White (by American standards, if not by German) refugees is mostly positive. A brief introduction to nativism and “America First” policies yields to praise of the friendships between New Yorkers and the refugees. Quoted primary sources aren’t always well-contextualized in the text.

Interesting anecdotes mitigate the missed opportunities in this history. (epilogue, timeline, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64160-383-6

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A case study of science at its idealistic and paradigm-changing best.

DARWIN'S RIVAL

ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE AND THE SEARCH FOR EVOLUTION

A handsomely designed tribute to the brilliant naturalist who very nearly scooped Darwin.

It was “a case of great minds thinking alike,” Dorion writes. But while Darwin had slowly, cautiously articulated his hypotheses to himself over decades in his country home, they came as flashes of insight to Wallace in the course of scouring the jungles of the Amazon and the Malay Archipelago for exotic specimens to sell to European collectors. It was Wallace’s 1858 letter to Darwin that spurred the latter to go public—and Wallace’s salutary lack of ego that turned what might have been a bitter battle over claims of precedence into a long and cordial relationship. Though the author skimps on Wallace’s later career and misleadingly tags the heart of his proposed theory as “natural selection” (that was Darwin’s term, not Wallace’s), she offers clear pictures of his character and his passion for natural science while making generous use of direct quotations. Tennant gives the slightly oversized volume the feel of a collector’s album with ranks of accurately drawn tropical beetles, birds, and other specimens. These he intersperses with portraits of eminent colleagues, images of collecting gear, and verdant scenes of the white explorer at work either alone or with one or more Indigenous assistants (the latter only sometimes identified, or even mentioned, in the narrative).

A case study of science at its idealistic and paradigm-changing best. (map, glossary, reading list) (Picture book/biography. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0932-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick Studio

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Engaging episodes, not beyond the ken of the current generation and lit with just enough sentiment to give them a warm glow.

MARSHFIELD MEMORIES

MORE STORIES ABOUT GROWING UP

A second set of childhood memories from the author of Marshfield Dreams (2005)—these spun around the feeling of being an “in-betweener” in his family as eldest of eight (later nine) siblings.

Fletcher opens with an elaborate neighborhood map (“Marshfield was my Middle-earth,” he writes) and goes on in short chapters to recall the pleasures—and sometimes tribulations—of being a Boy Scout, playing marbles, joining a muddy scramble to gather a bucket full of frogs, having the house to himself for a day, getting a pocket transistor radio, and like treasured moments around age 10. Other memories, such as learning that a Sunday school acquaintance who shared his love for chocolate Necco Wafers had died and seeing his school bus driver Ruben Gonsalves silently watch his son get slapped (wondering since if the 1964 incident would have even happened in his “white town…but for the color of their skin”), spark more complex responses. In an epilogue he tallies other less halcyon memories, capped by the later death of a brother covered in greater detail in the previous volume. Still, like the mock funeral his friends gave him when he and his family moved away from Marshfield, readers will find these reminiscences “sad, funny, a little weird, and very sweet.”

Engaging episodes, not beyond the ken of the current generation and lit with just enough sentiment to give them a warm glow. (Memoir. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62779-524-1

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more