Reviews GUIDELINES FOR REVIEWS: Reviews are arranged under the stars.” In “Love Lettuce,” Flavia Alaya tells how her Dutch
broad subject categories, with subcategories where appropri- husband becomes “Italian by marriage” because of the foods
ate (for example, age-group categories for children’s books). he eats. The majority of works, however, transcend the par-
The categories are arranged roughly by field in the following ticular male/female relationships and delve into individual
order: humanities, biography, history, religion, education, psyches, exploring the balance between self and culture.
social sciences, reference, juvenile works, and nonprint This anthology illuminates the power of food for Italian-
materials. Within each subject category, reviews are arranged American women in times of poverty and prejudice, success
in alphabetical order by author surname. Each review is pref- and celebration, loss and spiritual recovery. Humor, histori-
aced by a three-part numbering system: a two digit volume cal insights, recipes, family trials, and joys invite readers to
number, with the first year of publication designated as 01; a participate. Italian Americans will laugh and cry with the
one-digit issue number; and a four-digit review number that authors. So too will any reader, regardless of ethnic roots, who
runs consecutively within each individual volume year. For can enter the community of bright, loud, sexy, serious, sweet,
example, 04-1-0024 refers to review number 24 in volume subversive voices that offer a tasty repast. Buon appetito!
4, issue 1. Individual review entries begin with a headnote, — Elaine R. Ognibene
which indicates the review number and a full bibliographic Siena College
citation. Audio materials, videocassettes, and computer
software are reviewed in separate categories. The review sec- 12-1-0002
tion is followed by author, title, and subject indexes keyed Nitaawichige: Selected Poetry and Prose by Four
to the review numbers described above. Thesaurus citations Anishinaabe Writers. Duluth, Minn.: Poetry Harbor,
in the author index indicate relevant ethnic groups, races, 2002. 128 pp. ISBN 1-886895-28-7, $22.95 (pb).
religions, and, where appropriate, geographic regions. The
review section concludes with a directory of the publishers This lively text brings together a range of accomplished
cited in a particular issue. The cumulative index for each writers, each of whom has published at least one book, and
volume year appears in the December issue of that year. each is an active advocate of Anishinaabe rights. The reader
encounters such topics as the shenanigans of tribal councils,
the tensions inherent in reservation and urban living (and the
difficult task of negotiating the two worlds), and the impor-
tance of remembering and keeping family and community
connections alive. In the end, the thread that ties these writers
General Anthologies together is a concern for both personal and community iden-
12-1-0001 Jim Northrup’s “Shinnob Jep” offers a laugh-out-loud spi-
DeSalvo, Louise and Giunta, Edvidge, eds. The Milk of noff, Anishinaabe-style, of the Jeopardy game show. The terse
Almonds: Italian American Women Writers on Food and often edgy poems of Marcie R. Rendon focus on both
and Culture. New York: Feminist Press, 2002. 386 pp. ISBN women’s issues and those of Indians living in urban settings.
1-55861-392-7, $26.95. Where Rendon’s poems offer quick and sometimes angry
jabs, Linda LeGarde Grover’s poetry selections are typically
“Food,” the editors write, plays a “particularly important longer narratives that build a heart-wrenching momentum,
part in defining modes of power within an Italian American a momentum that sometimes takes a while to develop. The
domestic context.” In this impressive anthology, contributors text closes with Denise Sweet’s poems, all of which are beau-
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
reveal diverse portraits of Italian-American women who tell tiful lyrical renditions of personal narratives; like so many
secrets about unmet hungers, build bridges to their ethnic good poets, Sweet approaches sentimentality with just the
heritage, and engage in a process of cultural recovery using right touch and precision, not allowing her poems to falter
food as the medium for their message. The words, like many into maudlin recollections.
Italian foods, are rich and need time to be savored. It seems to me a wonderful thing that such a strong col-
Novelist Carole Maso begins with a narrative about the lection, one that focuses on a single tribal community, can
“miracle” of breast-feeding that leads her daughter to hold be published.
“life in her mouth,” as she reaches up for “Mommy’s milk in — Todd Fuller
was writing about a timeless theme, that she was more con-
12-1-0003 cerned with “emotional truth” than history. Despite its pon-
Weaver, Afaa Michael, ed. These Hands I Know: African- derous detail, Paradise Alley appears to follow this pattern.
American Writers on Family. Lexington, Ky.: Sarabande — Eric Zeisler
Books, 2002. 249 pp. ISBN 1-889330-72-8, $16.95 (pb). New York, N.Y.
This wonderful compilation of 17 pieces about family, as 12-1-0005
told by some of America’s best-known African-American writ- Carter, Karen DeGroot. One Sister’s Song. Denver, Colo.:
ers and scholars, presents personal recollections of events in Pearl Street Publishing, 2002. 216 pp. ISBN 0-9673867-3-X,
the contributors’ lives. Among the pieces are poems, essays, $15.00 (pb).
and memoirs; the authors include Henry Louis Gates, Jr.,
Alice Walker, Edwidge Danticat, and Fred D’Aguiar. Some of Carter has given us a love story and a lesson in history
the writings are poignant, some are sweet, others just inter- and sociology all tied up in one work. Audrey Conarroe, a
esting. In some of the pieces the authors open up and allow young biracial career woman, suddenly finds herself a single
the audience into parts of their lives that they may not have parent to her 14-year-old black nephew, Julian. Neither
shared before. Audrey nor Julian is happy about the situation. This story
The book is enjoyable because it gives a human aspect to of how Audrey deals with the hardships she encounters in
the authors whom we readers sometimes forget are people this role explores family dynamics, racial identity, and the
just like us, with the same problems and concerns that we struggles of a single woman facing unexpected changes.
face. The book is light reading and enjoyable. The love story part leaves one guessing until the very end
— Charlie Spencer Lackey as to who gets the woman. There are touching, romantic
Duke Univ. Medical School Library scenes that make one want to cheat and read the end first.
It is one of the few romances that I have read in recent years
Fiction where sex is not the central theme of the romance. There is
also a wonderful history subplot that will make readers won-
12-1-0004 der about their property or view old houses differently when
Baker, Kevin. Paradise Alley. New York: HarperCollins, they drive through the countryside.
2002. 688 pp. ISBN 0-06-019582-7, $26.95. Carter’s well-written and smooth-flowing story holds the
reader’s interest throughout. It is recommended to anyone
Baker’s latest historical novel flashes back and forth who enjoys a good romance with social issues thrown in.
between New York City during the Civil War Draft Riots and — Charlie Spencer Lackey
Ireland during the potato famine. He tells his story through Duke Univ. Medical School Library
three Irish-American women—a poor woman married to an
ex-slave, a prostitute, and a woman with middle-class aspi- 12-1-0006
rations. Their narratives reveal the impact of a generation’s Chaudhuri, Amit. R*E*A*L T*I*M*E: Stories and a
worth of events on themselves and the men in their lives— Reminiscence. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2002.
fathers, sons, brothers, and lovers. 184 pp. ISBN 0-374-28169-6, $21.00.
While Baker laudably attempts to expose the conflict
between the Irish and recently freed slaves, the characters Real Time is a winning short story collection by a
are scarcely more than one-dimensional representations of gifted writer with a unique voice and a refreshing turn of
their race, gender, and class. The overwhelming historical phrase. Delicately spun as the most intricate of cobwebs,
detail cuts into the narrative tension. The reader is also left his vignettes capture the subtle nuances and indefinable
with the impression that the New York of the Civil War was moments in people’s lives. Through his wry sense he exhib-
the bastion of liberal thinking it later became, pitting the its a deep empathy for the human condition replete with all
pro-Union educated classes against the doltish working-class its vanities and foibles.
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
pro-Confederacy ruffians. Yet in 1864 Lincoln won the state Chaudhuri sketches the posh flats on Marine Drive in
by only the smallest of margins, and he lost the city by a Bombay, the threadbare studios of inebriated artists in
landslide. New Yorkers of different social and ethnic strata impoverished tenements, and the old-world atmosphere
were united in their Southern sympathies, though for starkly of middle-class Calcutta. He exposes the concealed interior
different reasons. world behind the banalities of social interactions. An ambi-
There is a dangerous trend appearing in some historical fic- tious businessman who gains a sudden insight into his own
tion in the last few years. Heidi Julavits, author of The Mineral shortcomings at a party is overcome by middle-age lassitude
Palace, has stated that while writing her book she felt that she and a sense of resignation. After the first flush of excitement
“was beyond the stringent parameters of history” because she at meeting, two old friends face the unbridgeable chasm
t continued fiction reviews
between them and the inevitable parting of ways that must Press, 2002. 152 pp. ISBN 1-931010-07-2, $14.00 (pb).
follow this sad knowledge.
People on the cusp of self-revelation, colleagues locked Both of these books demonstrate the quality and variety
into relations of camaraderie and competition, veils of of contemporary Chicano/a literature.
revelation and concealment between married couples, the A Santo in the Image of Cristóbal García is the final install-
perversity of children in the presence of visitors, and a mul- ment in Collignon’s story of Guadalupe, a tiny village in
titude of other situations spring to life under Chaudhuri’s New Mexico, following The Journal of Antonio Montoya and
masterful pen. His whimsical writing is certain to leave read- Perdido. It is not necessary to read the first two novels in
ers sighing and chuckling. order to understand the third, but you will probably want to.
— Jaswinder Gundara A Santo gives readers the entire history of the village, from
Coral Gables, Fla. its reluctant founding by Cristóbal García to the morning
when Flavio Montoya witnesses the approach of the fires that
12-1-0007 threaten to consume it. Collignon’s deceptively simple style
Chun, Pam. The Money Dragon. Naperville, Ill.: is reminiscent of the magical realism of Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless
Sourcebooks, 2002. 336 pp. ISBN 1-57071-866-0, $24.00. Me, Ultima, except that the point of view here is that of the
aged Flavio. Flavio is not so much the narrator of the story as
Though technically a novel, Chun’s book is actually a he is the listener. The history of the village is created through
history of her great-grandfather, the self-styled L. Ah Leong, the stories that Flavio remembers. Many of the characters are
who rose from extreme poverty in his native China to compulsive storytellers (a trait they share with their creator)
become the owner of much of downtown Honolulu’s prime and the result is stories within stories. Flavio just wants to
real estate. Aided by his six-foot-tall, sharp-witted wife Dai- tend his fields, but the forces of destruction that prevent him
Kam, Ah Leong began with a general store around 1900 and from doing so are evident from the birth of the village.
became Hawai’i’s first Chinese millionaire by the 1920s. But Sofía’s Saints tells the story of Sofía Loren Sauceda,
according to Chun’s story, when he reached his seventies, a 30-year-old Chicana from Corpus Christi, Texas, who
still in his physical prime, the colorful patriarch became waits tables to support her art habit. In a town that can’t
more King Lear than Horatio Alger, if one can imagine a get enough images of Selena (she replaces the Virgin of
Lear with five wives (only one legal under Hawai’i law—but Guadalupe on a mural painted on the side of a restaurant
deciding which one becomes a huge legal debate) and many and Botticelli’s Venus in a painting in a bank), Sofía stub-
children, some treacherous, some Cordelia-like in filial loy- bornly refuses to compromise her artistic vision, even to
alty. Arrogantly overconfident after years of hard-earned earn enough money to buy the house she has lived in for
wealth and achievement of “face,” in the habit of brow- most of her life. She sees saints in the swirls of the grain of
beating his children and foolishly trusting certain relatives’ wood and draws them with a pyroelectric pen. Her drawings
viperish gossip, Ah Leong brings disaster upon his clan. The juxtapose the other world and this one: “Instead of in the
novel is narrated by “Phoenix,” his first daughter-in-law. blazes of hell, St. Lucifer stands in the oil refinery flames that
Much of it seems fairytale-like in the scenes back in China, stink up the edges of Corpus Christi.”
featuring daring escapes from bandits and a gigantic palace Although this is her first novel, López shows a real talent
Ah Leong orders built to dazzle his native village, and excit- for creating vivid characters. Sorting through memories of a
ingly melodramatic in Honolulu. Chun includes family and father she never knew and a mother who was joylessly pro-
architectural photos and legal documents in an appendix. miscuous, Sofía struggles with a tendency to distance herself
The book is at times a bit awkward in its structure and from others. She witnesses the mistakes of her friends and
its dispersal of historical information, though much of the makes a few of her own on her way to figuring out who she
detail is vital to the plot. The entire second half of the tale is and how she wants to live. She is fiercely independent and
is compelling reading, as Phoenix and her loving husband determined to make her own mistakes.
struggle with their domineering parents—who are engaged From the rural harshness and beauty of Collignon’s
in their own epic battle with one another—and scheming Guadalupe to the funky urban setting of López’s Corpus
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
“aunties” and cousins, all against a backdrop of a changing Christi, these writers create places worth visiting and char-
Hawai’i in its early territorial days. acters worth listening to.
— Joseph Milicia — Cynthia Taylor
Univ. of Wisconsin–Sheboygan Univ. of Southern Colorado
Collignon, Rick. A Santo in the Image of Cristóbal Connor, Bernadette Y. The Parcel Express Murders.
García. Denver, Colo.: BlueHen, 2002. 336 pp. ISBN 0-399- Philadelphia: Bee-Con Books, 2002. 226 pp. ISBN 0-9715838-
14921-X, $23.95. 1-1, $13.00 (pb).
López, Diana. Sofía’s Saints. Tempe, Ariz.: Bilingual Review/ The Parcel Express Murders is part police procedural and
part well-written romance novel. The title refers to a killer’s ouin life. Nicola’s misfortunes suggest a metaphor for Egypt’s
method of disposing of murder weapons. continuing struggle in the second half of the twentieth cen-
The main character is Samoa Tate, a 30-year-old successful tury. The deceptively simple prose, in excellent translation,
African-American psychiatrist. She first learns from televi- carries the story inexorably toward a grim conclusion.
sion news of the murder of a local businessman and his The Watchers, by an outstanding writer who was assassi-
female companion. At first, Samoa’s only connection with nated in the 1990s reign of terror in Algeria, waged by radical
the murders is that her best friend’s husband and his partner Islamic forces against intellectuals, seems a prediction of its
are the police detectives on the case. However, she is soon author’s fate. In this novel, a young teacher has devised a
referred a new patient, the businessman’s widow, who has simplified loom in the idealistic hope of reviving the crafts
come to discuss her unfaithful husband’s death. of village women. Determined to present his model at an
The novel alternates the police investigation with scenes international inventors’ congress in Europe, he tries to
from Samoa’s professional and personal lives. They all renew his passport, only to meet one senseless bureaucratic
become intertwined as Samoa and Edward Clark, one of the obstruction after another. Finally he succeeds in his plan,
detectives, begin a romantic relationship. This relationship and when the press picks up on his success, he becomes
is the core of the novel. But Samoa needs more. The author a local celebrity. But the power-holders of his small town,
repeatedly correlates Samoa’s fear of emotional intimacy knowing the truth will come out concerning the obstacles
with a man and her mother and herself having been aban- placed in his way, cannot face the expected embarrassment.
doned by Samoa’s father prior to her birth. Someone, they decide, must be made a scapegoat for the
When the killer is apprehended, it is discovered that bumbling of officialdom.
Samoa had another connection to the murderous events. The chain of events, described in a dryly ironic style,
There is maybe one coincidence too many in this novel, but often verges toward dark comedy, and passages about the
overall it is an enjoyable read. youth of the two central characters provide lyrical interludes
— Catherine Crohan of poignant beauty. But this is a deadly serious depiction of
Siena College Library ideological rigidity and oppression. The morally weak are
corrupted and swallowed, while the innocent—like Ilya in
12-1-0010 Seeds of Corruption—are sacrificed to serve the designs of the
Djaout, Tahar. The Watchers. St. Paul, Minn.: Ruminator power-holders. Both books can be well recommended for
Books, 2002. 207 pp. Trans. from French by Marjolijn de college age.
Jager. ISBN 1-886913-54-4, $23.00. — Elsa Marston
Moussa, Sabri. Seeds of Corruption. Northampton, Mass.:
Interlink, 2002. 192 pp. Trans. from Arabic by Mona N. 12-1-0011
Mikhail. ISBN 1-56656-457-3, $12.95 (pb). Hall, Rachel Howzell. A Quiet Storm. New York: Simon &
Schuster, 2002. 250 pp. ISBN 0-7432-2616-X, $13.00 (pb).
Corrupted government that both shapes and betrays
society provides a dominant theme in much literature from Hall presents an apparently happy middle-class African-
Third World novelists. American family living in California. This “American Pie”
A tale of betrayal and disillusionment, Seeds of Corruption family is not poverty-stricken, does not live in public hous-
(first published in 1980) reveals the outcome of the story at ing, and both parents are in the home. In this seemingly
the start and then leads up to the events that explain the blissful family are two daughters.
bitter present. The central character, Nicola, is an engineer The older daughter, Arika, is intelligent, glamorous, and
who drifts from his European origins to Egypt and finds creative, but the menacing, prodigious, devastating disease
himself involved in a mining operation in the Eastern des- of mental illness surfaces and the whole family is shattered.
ert. Two things give his life meaning. The first is his work, Due to the stigma of mental illness, the family lives in
the challenge of expanding the mine and organizing the denial, and Arika does not get counseling.
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
inland mining community and the seaside port; the other is Hall shows how the disease starts out as a quiet storm and
his teenaged daughter Ilya, result of a nearly forgotten mar- then escalates into a tornado. Arika seeks freedom from the
riage. So successful are Nicola’s operations that the seaside menacing disease by marrying a rich medical doctor. This
village attracts novelty-seeking visitors from Egypt’s upper act only intensifies the problem and paves the way for aug-
classes, including its notorious last king (which sets the mented tragedy. Arika then tries to get away from the disease
action around 1950). Ilya is caught in the clash of innocence by spending excessively. The minister from the church per-
and depravity, leading to the guilt-obsessed madness of her forms his ritual but the disease refuses to abate.
father. Throughout the novel Hall describes the numerous nega-
The desert as a place of both fascination and death pro- tive forms of “Band-Aid therapy” utilized by Arika and her
vides a powerful setting for this drama, in which the world family to annihilate this deleterious disease. In the tragic end,
that has ensnared Nicola contrasts with the integrity of bed- the disease wins. This fictional treatment of mental illness is
tcontinued fiction reviews
honest and compelling and recommended for public librar- large stretches of the American mythopoetic landscape. One
ies. clever instance is Park’s “McDonald’s-izing” of the American
— Maxine M. Agazie penchant for personal reinvention. “Dr. Namumanu can
Albany (Ga.) State Univ. do miracles,” his gorgeous soon-to-be wife tells Boy Genius.
“She wants to open a chain of clinics all around the world so
12-1-0012 that people can walk in anytime and walk out with a whole
Hardy, James Earl. Love the One You’re With. New York: new face.” After Boy Genius and his bride have had their
HarperCollins/Amistad, 2002. 224 pp. ISBN 0-06-621248-0, faces Americanized by Dr. Namumanu, they agree to tour
$22.95. Europe “every chance we got to get better acquainted with
Increasingly considered a key player in the broadening lit- Park’s hero also happens on “a large hunched figure” in
erary canon of varieties of black masculinities, Hardy builds a seedy laundromat who slips him a quickie bliss-inducer
on his immensely popular B-Boy Blues series. Though it may called Indira, sought by “twenty-five multinational pharma-
appear that writing about American gay male experiences ceutical giants” that “want to mass produce it and unleash
has long been deemed the province of white men, black gay it in the ghetto.” Considering that some neurosurgeons
male writers have a rich history (James Baldwin, Countee actually argue that domestic urban rioters and foreign ter-
Cullen, Langston Hughes). Hardy’s best-selling novels pro- rorists are motivated by chemical imbalances in their brains,
vide a credible take on that perceived universal black male it appears that Boy Genius is seriously up-to-date as well as a
taboo, homosexuality. witty and thoroughly enjoyable satire from this Swarthmore
How do African-American same-gender-loving men graduate.
define themselves to be themselves? Phallocentrism and Kim’s brilliant first novel, The Interpreter, is more complex,
intense eroticism, commonly thought of as universal black though she also has it in for McDonald’s. In fact, the cultural
male aesthetics, are not absent here. “Pooquie” and “Little significance of food, Korean and American, is a minor motif
Bit” are devoted to each other, but can the couple maintain in this engaging immigrant tale. Suzy Park, Kim’s Korean-
their relationship from a distance? Hardy’s straight-up por- American interpreter for New York City’s courts, has also to
trayal of love and its struggles points to one reason for his interpret her own transient family’s past in the United States
continued popularity. The novels have had crossover appeal, and Korea after the brutal murder of her parents in their fruit
as they point to commonalities among those of various gen- and vegetable market. By following clues about her parents’
ders, races, and sexual orientations involved in relationships. life, offered by aging illegal Korean immigrants, and puz-
Hardy is thoroughly in line with contemporary black gay zling out her older sister’s childhood role as interpreter for
male views. Clearly homoerotic, the book would be stronger her parents in their new land, Suzy discovers the bitter truth
without its sometimes sexism/misogyny. that her volubly anti-American father was actually a stoolie
The book is recommended for academic and public librar- for the INS and city police. The revelation is profoundly
ies collecting American, African-American, or gay literature unsettling and forces Suzy to come to grips with her own
at all levels and for all undergraduate and graduate collec- selfish sexual and intellectual escapism.
tions supporting coursework in gay and lesbian studies. Ultimately, Kim’s novel turns out to be partly a Graham
— Elsa Bruguier Greene/John le Carré tale of the severe tensions between
Union County (N.J.) College Libraries amoral institutional power and blossoming personal integ-
rity, and partly a confrontational epiphany of the specifi-
12-1-0013 cally American meaning of self-conscious freedom. Along
Kim, Suki. The Interpreter. New York: Farrar, Straus & the way, Kim pours out all she knows about the inner life
Giroux, 2003. 288 pp. ISBN 0-374-17713-9, $24.00. of a complicated immigrant experience. A heady first effort,
Park, Youngsoo. Boy Genius. New York: Akashic Books, — Leo J. Mahoney
2002. 230 pp. ISBN 1-888451-24-6, $14.95 (pb). Turco-British Association, Ankara
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
Here are a couple of provocative immigrant chronicles 12-1-0014
from young Korean-American writers, both of whose quite Lin, Ed. Waylaid. New York: Kaya, 2002. 196 pp. ISBN 1-
different literary talents are impressive. Both novels reprise 885030-32-0, $12.95 (pb).
and project major themes of America’s immigrant experi-
ence. The 1980s setting of Lin’s first novel is bleak: a shabby
It’s arguable whether Boy Genius succeeds in deflating Jersey Shore motel whose clientele ranges from summer-
America’s outsize immigrant mythology to manageable season “Bennys” (working-class Bayonne-Elizabeth-Newark-
proportions; Park’s blatant sarcasm hilariously pillories New-Yorkers seeking sex and sun) to off-season prostitutes
and johns, and during the winter, the desperate elderly — Danilo H. Figueredo
men who can afford only the lowest rates. The 12-year-old Bloomfield College Library
narrator helps his struggling, humorless Chinese-immigrant 12-1-0016
parents run the motel, fends off white bullies and endures Major, Marcus. A Man Most Worthy. New York: Dutton,
ghastly teachers at school, hates the thought of being 2003. 324 pp. ISBN 0-525-94685-3, $23.95.
“Chinese” rather than “American,” and fantasizes about los-
ing his virginity (his sex education coming mostly from the Major (4 Guys and Trouble, Good People) has pulled it off
magazines discarded by the renters) before he turns 13. He again with this latest sure-fire blockbuster. He is a master
succeeds at the last, at least partly because the girls his age of relationships, portrayed from both the male and female
seem to have no greater prospects in life than he does. perspective. At age 36, self-made millionaire John Sebastian
Yet Waylaid is exhilarating rather than depressing to read, has all he’s ever wanted—his own business, mansion, and
thanks to Lin’s brilliant style. The boy’s narrative voice is young and beautiful girlfriend. When he invites his mentor,
funny and incisive, with the details of the motel grounds Mr. Duke, to Charlotte, North Carolina, to show him all he
and its denizens rendered so vividly, with such economy of has accomplished, Mr. Duke sets off a series of irreversible
description, that the book is rarely merely sordid or despair- changes in John’s attitude and behavior. Mr. Duke asks John
ing. (A walk through the interior of a long-abandoned ham- if he is really happy. The answer is no! There is someone
burger stand begins: “The scene. . . reminded me of those missing from John’s life—his true love, Josephine, who John
National Geographic features where they’d run a waterproof walked away from seven years ago. It becomes clear what
camera through the former living quarters of an undersea matters most—he wants Josephine back but must first prove
shipwreck.”) This is a most impressive debut novel. himself worthy of her love. He moves to New Jersey, where
— Joseph Milicia Josephine still lives and where he plans to expand his com-
Univ. of Wisconsin–Sheboygan pany. However, all does not go as planned.
This fast-paced and moving story of relationships, ambi-
12-1-0015 tions, secrets, and deception is full of witty dialogue and
López, Lorraine. Soy la Avon Lady and Other Stories. raunchy sex. It’s sure to please loyal fans and provide lively
Willimantic, Conn.: Curbstone Press, 2002. 230 pp. ISBN 1- discussion material for book clubs.
880684-86-1, $15.95. — Hattie Vines
Reading a collection of short stories by a new writer is a 12-1-0017
bit like the proverbial box of chocolate from Forrest Gump: Mason, Anita. The Yellow Cathedral.
you just don’t know what you’re going to get. But this vol- Denver, Colo.: Spinster’s Ink, 2002. 210
ume is by a writer who is truly gifted. pp. ISBN 1-883523-43-5, $14.00 (pb).
López seems to have been influenced by literary giants.
Her eye for details and poetic touches allows her to craft Mason’s moving eyewitness
descriptive passages that bring to mind the best of F. Scott account in the form of a novel recalls
Fitzgerald. Her characters are as vividly depicted as anything the tragic events that occurred in
Dickens drafted. And her sense of irony and humor reminds Chiapas, Mexico, during the guer-
one of Vonnegut. For example, she writes about a woman rilla war of 1994-95. In journalistic
who tells everyone she meets that she is an alcoholic, even fashion, Mason reveals what really
though she has never drunk in her life and dislikes the happened between the government and the rebels, the
scent of alcohol—but she chooses to be an alcoholic as a Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). For Mexico
precaution. The story “To Control a Rabid Rodent” is about to progress and become an egalitarian society, liberals real-
a young boy who accidentally shoots a neighbor to death ized that land reform must occur, but there have been no
while attempting to kill a rabid prairie dog. He is arrested by real changes or improvements in almost a century. Caught
the local sheriff, who at first doesn’t believe the story about in the struggle between the PRI, a virtual dictatorship, and
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
the animal. After his release, the boy’s mother sends him to the more progressive PRD, indigenous peoples experienced
the neighbor with a bowl of Jell-O as a friendly gesture. On repression, violence, and the murder of innocents. Against
his way next door, the boy hopes the Jell-O can serve him as overwhelming odds, the EZLN sought justice and human
bulletproof vest in case the neighbors are upset with him. rights by occupying the land, supporting the indigenous
López has a keen insight into the human condition. All groups in their struggle for autonomy against the pressures
of these stories are framed in a slice-of-life format, where the of globalization, specifically, the NAFTA treaty.
narrative begins suddenly and casually and ends abruptly Although the narrative unfolds through the eyes of 17-
and sometimes anticlimactically. year-old Benito Trejo, a campesino, it also presents multiple
tcontinued fiction reviews
points of view, including those of the president and gover- exile in the United States and becomes a controversial arbi-
nor, the rebels, and religious leaders involved in the struggle. ter in a conflict between tradition (symbolized by red ochre)
As in much of Latin America, the Catholic Church in Mexico and modernity. Overall, the novel interrogates the issue of
takes opposing positions, some priests supporting the status “progress” and “civilization”—often with irony or delightful
quo, others preaching liberation theology. The vast dichot- humor, particularly in some playful names—not only for
omy between the native religion and culture of the Mayan one period and place but everywhere.
Indians, and the established Catholic Church imposing its Mda’s novels are significant for assessing the realities
values, leads to insurmountable cultural conflicts. I found of the “new” republic. Both call for a restoration of hope
the book to be both engaging and enlightening. together with efficacious planning and a transformation of
— Roberta Gordenstein struggle to tranquillity for the country’s beleaguered people.
Elms College, Chicopee, Mass. Approaching these books in reverse, however, may be the
best order to enjoy them. One might begin with the longer,
12-1-0018 more cerebral text and then turn to the briefer, more visceral
Mda, Zakes. The Heart of Redness. New York: Farrar, Straus piece for a stunning finish.
& Giroux, 2002. 278 pp. ISBN 0-374-52834-9, $24.00. — Anne Serafin
Newton North High School, Newtonville, Mass.
Mda, Zakes. Ways of Dying. New York: Picador USA, 2002.
210 pp. ISBN 0-312-42091-9, $13.00 (pb). 12-1-0019
Miller, Karen E. Quinones. I’m Telling. New York: Simon &
Mda is perhaps the most prominent South African writer Schuster, 2002. 226 pp. ISBN 0-7432-1435-8, $21.00.
to emerge in the past decade. Reading both of his novels is
mandatory to gain his perspective on South Africa, past and Miller, author of the best-selling Satin Doll, presents her
present. Ways of Dying, from 1995 but published now for the second novel. Thirty-year-old Faith Freeman is co-owner of
first time in the United States, creates a bleak contemporary a thriving literary agency in Harlem, has a beautiful apart-
landscape but in an often humorously absurdist manner. ment full of fine clothing and furniture, and is engaged to
The Heart of Redness more realistically intertwines nine- Henry, a long-time beau who is adoring and extravagantly
teenth-century history with late-twentieth-century events. generous. However, Faith’s family life is full of secrets. In
Commentators have described some of Mda’s style as “magic adulthood, Faith has taken on the role as family caretaker,
realism” (more apparent in Dying than in Redness). I hesi- but she harbors guilt and confusion for the spiraling descent
tate, however, to adopt the term typically attached to Latin of her twin sister, Hope, who has drifted into prostitution,
American work. As Ben Okri has pointed out about himself drugs, and shoplifting. Their mother doesn’t acknowledge
and others, fantasy and spiritualism are an integral part of how the secrets have affected her family and continues to
the culture for African writers. make excuses for her obesity. These issues propel each family
Ways of Dying is presented in the mode of a folktale, member’s life into an emotional whirlwind, which comes to
occasionally shifting to a collective third-person narration. a dramatic climax.
Hardship and violence dominate the characters’ lives, yet Miller has the ability to hold the reader’s attention
ultimately, death—while shockingly prevalent—is recon- throughout the novel. She tells the story with straightfor-
structed as a positive element of life. The story introduces ward dialogue, showing all dimensions of the novel’s char-
Toloki, a self-styled Professional Mourner—complete with acters, at the same time showing compassion. Miller also has
black top hat and frock coat—who, alas, has increasing num- the ability to create complex and believable characters that
bers of funerals to attend. At one of the funerals, he discovers tug at the reader’s emotions. Such is the case when out of
a “homegirl,” Noria, whose child is being buried. Gradually, the family’s darkest hour come love and redemption. With
they develop a bond, despite childhood animosities, that the emotional turmoil coming to a head, the reader might
transcends their surroundings, including enchanted walks wonder how a credible happy ending could come out of this
through virtual gardens (among magazine pictures Toloki turmoil. Miller somehow makes that happen.
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
pasted on the walls of Noria’s house). Soon their joy radi- — Dora Love
ates to their community and they become symbols of a new San Francisco, Calif.
spirit. Mda thus creates a stark but spirited representation of
post-apartheid life. 12-1-0020
The Heart of Redness is more ambitious and denser with Power, Susan. Roofwalker. Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions,
generally less vigorous writing. It interweaves dual plots. 2002. 224 pp. ISBN 1-57131-039-8, $20.00.
Ingeniously, Mda uses twinning, both literally, especially
for names, such as Twin and Twin-Twin, and figuratively, In the title story from this collection, the Roofwalker is a
as a thematic device. It is intriguing to sort out the mirrored spirit that eats dreams, and when he finds one he really likes
characters and events, but the modern story of Camagu will he makes them come true. A young girl in Chicago learns
most likely hold readers’ attention more than the earlier tale. about the Roofwalker from her visiting Dakota grandmother.
Camagu has returned with a Ph.D. after living 30 years in Her father has left the family and her mother is struggling.
The grandmother comes to ground the young girl and to Red Corn, Charles H. A Pipe for February. Norman: Univ.
remind her of her place in the world. The intergenerational of Oklahoma Press, 2002. 272 pp. ISBN 0-8061-3454-2,
pattern of learning and transmitting cultural knowledge $29.95.
from traditional homelands to urban settings is repeated in American Indians from the time of first European con-
a number of variations in these splendid narratives. Power tact have been subjected to the loss of culture, land, and
(Standing Rock Yanktonnai Dakota) has woven these 12 life through force of arms, deceptive treaties, and collusion
stories together with wonderfully lyric language and contem- between white “overseers” and speculators. One of the most
porary experience informed by Sioux culture and history. blatant examples of the last of these occurred in the 1920s
The narratives have common threads and images such as in Oklahoma when Indians “removed” to Indian Territory
abandonment, birthing, storytelling, beading, spirits, recov- suddenly found themselves fabulously wealthy after oil was
ery, and survival. Power intertwines poetry and letters with discovered on their lands. They also found themselves the
her exquisite prose. She introduces political issues, even trag- target of greedy businessmen who attempted to acquire
edy, with humor and grace. One of her characters, a young Indian land by any means—up to and including murder.
Indian student at Harvard, declares, “I am Dakota, and to In this historical novel of the Osage in Oklahoma during
remain Indian in this world one must learn to accommodate that era, John Grayeagle, the protagonist, is a young man
contradictions.” Power’s variety of characters face many con- of artistic temperament who finds himself embroiled in a
tradictions in their relationships and experiences. They claim fraudulent conspiracy involving his family and a hotel in
their dreams most often through their tribal sensibilities. which he has a financial interest.
— P. Jane Hafen Though the mystery is somewhat compelling, the interest
Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas of the story is in its details of the Osage culture and its view
of a unique time in American history when the Osage people
12-1-0021 were caught between two worlds—the world of wealth and
Quintana, Leroy V. La Promesa and Other Stories. white ways and their own heritage. While the dialogue in
Norman: Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 2002. 192 pp. ISBN 0- the book is somewhat stilted and the character of Grayeagle
8061-3449-6, $24.95. curiously detached, the book is a recommended addition to
Native American fiction collections.
Quintana’s worthy collection is set in New Mexico and — Andy J. Deering
in Vietnam during the time of U.S. military involvement. Central Wyoming College
Quintana, a Vietnam veteran, writes movingly of the moral
dilemmas facing soldiers in wartime and the psychic scarring
experienced by veterans on homecoming. But this author’s 12-1-0023
most effective narratives emerge from the deftly drawn Rogers, Lawrence, ed. Tokyo Stories: A Literary Stroll.
characters in the fictionalized town of San Miguel, New Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 2002. 315 pp. Trans. from
Mexico. Weaving these stories together is an unforgettable Japanese by Lawrence Rogers. ISBN 0-520-21786-1, $50.00
cast of characters, including La La La Chevalier, a widow who (cl); 0-520-21788-8, $19.95 (pb).
miraculously scorches the image of her dead husband onto
a tortilla, and La Wedding Bells, a much-married woman This unusual anthology is sure to be enjoyed by admirers
whose resurrection from death is a new doctor’s first success- of Japanese literature. It is unusual in that, while it contains
ful case. the stories by the top writers of the twentieth century, such
Quintana chronicles the other-ness resultant from living as Yukio Mishima, Soseki Natsume, Yasunari Kawabata, and
in a time and place that mainstream America has overlooked. Ryunosuke Akutagawa, it also includes writers of popular fic-
But underlying the quirky characters and the absurdities of tion who are rarely translated. In fact, only two of the nearly
small town life in San Miguel are intimations of despair that 20 selections have been published previously in English. So
manifest in the few options perceived by the young men of even most fans of Japanese fiction will be reading new stories
the pueblo—enlist or drink, or enlist, go to war, return, and by their favorite authors.
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
drink. Quintana, a former alcoholism counselor, demon- It is unusual also in that, as the title suggests, all the
strates keen apprehension of lives delimited by exclusion, pieces are set in various parts of Tokyo. Further, the contents
trauma, and inevitably, alcohol abuse. The didactic in these are geographically arranged. The stories represent various
stories is suggested rather than pronounced due to the mas- styles and genres, from the I-novel, to proletariat literature,
tery of Quintana’s raucous and often hilarious prose. to surrealist-magical fiction.
— Lorraine López Rogers, the editor and translator, gives introductions to
Vanderbilt Univ. each story that offer helpful background, and his 20-page
introduction to the collection provides historical, geographi-
12-1-0022 cal, and cultural information useful to those who are plan-
t continued fiction reviews
ning to visit or who have visited Tokyo. as descriptions of a decaying Guatemala City paint a harsh
— Al Hikida portrait of contemporary reality. The immigrants’ struggle
Seattle Central Community College to educate their children in the Jewish tradition, and the
12-1-0024 machinations of individual members of the community to
Taibo, Paco Ignacio. Frontera Dreams. El Paso, Tex.: Cinco achieve status and power, provide insight into a heretofore
Puntos Press, 2002. 160 pp. Trans. from Spanish by Bill neglected segment of Latin American society.
Verner. ISBN 0-938317-58-X, $13.95 (pb). — Roberta Gordenstein
This sixth detective novel in the Héctor Belascoarán Elms College, Chicopee, Mass.
Shayne series is smart and ironic in a detective novel way 12-1-0026
that invokes—in an unspoken suggestion of philosophical Wilkinson, Crystal. Water Street. New Milford, Conn.:
undercurrents—Sartre’s absurd though transgressive curios- Toby Press, 2002. 176 pp. ISBN 1-902881-59-1, $19.95.
ity. The protagonist, who takes the lead from Chandler’s
Christopher Marlowe more than Hammett’s Sam Spade, Wilkinson’s second novel is a collection of fictional sto-
takes us on a border tour. From “stupid pseudo-Mexican ries about people living in small-town Kentucky. This is a
border patrol agents” with names like Jess Garcia who detain town where children and adults feel safe and whites and
individuals in their provincial kangaroo court hearings to African Americans live together peacefully, where everyone
“little Oaxacan” gardeners who leave the nonexistent dreams attends church on Sunday and works hard the rest of the
of the South and reside on the border looking for hope under week, and where everyone has committed the list of kin
the big blue Sonoran sky, from television producers’ ties with to memory. Every character has at least two stories to tell,
gringo drug traffickers who double as vigilante border agents “One story that the light of day shines on; the other that
to marijuana plantations that require an army of kidnapped lives only in the pitch black of night.” At this point, the
Zacatecan prostitutes to satisfy their 12,000 workers—it’s the reader is introduced to the colorful characters and their lives
protagonist’s will to know the absurd that moves the plot on Water Street. We become acquainted with a middle-aged
forward. black woman, Yolanda, and her friendship with Mona at a
Besides being smart and ironic, the novel is nostalgic for session with her psychiatrist. Mona, a woman of wealth but
leftist politics as remembered in the protagonist’s fragment- many regrets, reveals her thoughts during her gynecologi-
ed recollection of Tlatelolco, the generation of ’68, and their cal visit. Reverend Townsend, a 56-year-old virgin, has only
present disunity and amnesia. religion and his congregation to comfort him. Lois Carter,
As for me, it made me nostalgic for a time in my own a white woman married to a black man, lives a fine line
adolescence when a detective novel came across as a great between her heritage and a subtle envy of her black relatives
read. Buy it, read it, and burn the pages—Taibo’s cool. and friends.
— James C. Jupp This is a cohesive collection that marks Wilkinson as
Austin (Tex.) Independent School District a gifted observer of people and a talented writer. Water
Street has strength in its characters, and the reader instantly
12-1-0025 becomes mesmerized by their stories and is reluctant to part
Unger, David. Life in the Damn Tropics. Syracuse, N.Y.: company with them.
Syracuse Univ. Press, 2002. 301 pp. ISBN 0-8156-0737-7, — Dora Love
$34.95. San Francisco, Calif.
Set against the backdrop of war-torn Guatemala in the 12-1-0027
1980s, Unger’s compelling novel focuses on 53-year-old Yamada, Teri Shaffer, ed. Virtual Lotus: Modern Fiction
Marcos Eltaleph, a Jewish immigrant from Egypt, and his of Southeast Asia. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press,
extended family’s struggle to survive in an anti-Semitic soci- 2002. 332 pp. ISBN 0-472-09789-X, $65.00 (cl); 0-472-06789-
ety. Caught between a corrupt president and a right-wing 3, $26.95 (pb).
military on one hand and a leftist guerrilla insurgency on the
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
other, the Eltalephs are forced to bribe the ruling powers in This anthology is the first collection to attempt a broad
order to maintain their successful businesses and live as much representation of the fiction from the complex geography
of a Jewish life as is possible in a Catholic country. Through of Southeast Asia. There are short stories from Burma (U
the various crises, political unrest, bombings, and assassina- Win Pe’s delightful satire, “Clear, Clear Water”), Cambodia,
tions, Marcos examines his own life and attempts to come to Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Negara Brunei Darussalam,
terms with his abandonment of an illegitimate son and his Singapore (Gopal Baratham’s engrossing “A Personal History
tempestuous relationship with a young Colombian ex-prosti- of an Island”), Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam (well-
tute. Past and present sexual exploits form a large part of his known writer Duong Thu Huong’s “The Story of an Actress”).
thoughts and actions as he questions his value system. Although the quality of the fiction is uneven—some stories
Life in the Damn Tropics conveys a strong sense of place seem sentimental and others formulaic—the volume is an
at this turbulent period in Guatemalan history. Vivid important one. It suggests the rich tradition of storytelling
descriptions of the mistreatment of Mayan Indians as well that survives war, censorship, and the gruesome hardships of
life in war-torn countries. These two overtly self-revelatory books by Latino poets,
What makes the book especially valuable is the editorial while vastly different in style and tone, are highly per-
material accompanying the stories. Those of a particular sonal meditations on their identities as writers that address
country are prefaced by a short but concise overview of that notions of perception, perspective, and self-construction.
country’s literary traditions, as well as the necessary social Both use references to masks, ritual, and role-playing in their
and political contexts. There is also detailed biographical work, but with less pathological implications.
information on each writer. So many of these writers create In Home Movies, the poet is at once on both sides of the
in climates where censorship and oppression exist; many lens—a more contemporary take on the concept of “double-
of these stories are banned from publication in their home- consciousness” explicated by W. E. B. Du Bois. The first
lands. The University of Michigan Press also provides an section contains reflections on the author’s childhood—not
electronic guide for students and instructors that augments the typical camera-conscious images of happy innocence,
the material of the anthology. but commemorations of early steps on the road to knowl-
— Ed Ifkovic edge. In the second section, characters often take on various
Tunxis Community College, Farmington, Conn. roles in acting out scenarios conjured by the poet. The third
section, comprised of Arroyo’s wonderfully conceived and
12-1-0028 executed Ponce de Leon poems, is a contemplation on the
Yi In-hwa. Everlasting Empire. Norwalk, Conn.: EastBridge, poet’s responsibility to history: the ghost of a conquistador
2002. 300 pp. Trans. from Korean by Yu Young-nan. ISBN 1- hungry for commemoration as a hero competes with the
891936-15-8, $28.95 (cl); 1-891936-02-6, $18.95 (pb). voices of the vanquished Taínos and abducted African slaves
for Arroyo’s attention. The book concludes with “The Black
An engaging historical novel is an asset to any course Moon Poems,” which could collectively be described as a film
devoted to an instruction of cultural trends and values. noir-style portrait of the poet as aging insomniac with cat.
Everlasting Empire is an effective tool for teaching Korean The poems are incisive yet charming, at various times pen-
history and culture. sive, despairing, or poignant, and sometimes surreal. Home
Yi’s work is equal parts late dynastic Korean history, Movies evokes Narcissus, not as a self-absorbed amateur with
traditional Korean values, and universal mystery, packaged a camera but as an accomplished and insightful artist.
within the frame story of a discovery of a nineteenth-cen- While Arroyo’s stream of consciousness flows through
tury manuscript. The narrative style will appeal to Advanced a solitary Midwestern mindscape, Herrera’s fiery canción
Placement high school students and college students alike, echoes through the streets of a densely populated com-
and the treatment of Korean politics and consequences from munity, forging an ironclad bond among family, friends,
150 years ago provides enough substance for the same target artists, activists, and writers. Beginning with a healing, a
audience to digest in a class of world literature or world cul- cleansing, and a sort of invocation, Notebooks is part photo
tures. album, part street ballad, and part recipe book—a scintillat-
Korea is sometimes overshadowed by Japan and China in ing melange of incantations and impersonations, dichos and
the arenas of literature and history studies. Everlating Empire diatribes, cuentas y corridos, koans and sutras, conversations
brings to life one of the most dynamic times in Korea’s his- and monologues, ruminations and retratos, snapshots and
tory—a time when its interaction with the Western world journal entries, instructions on how to do something, direc-
was beginning and its dynasties were in their last days. This tions on how to get somewhere, lists, letters, limpias, and
novel is valuable not only as a historical tool but also as an love poems—a celebration of selfhood and community.
educational resource that provides a view of what Korea was Notebooks includes a litany for the late muralist and writer
before being shaped by its twentieth-century conflicts with José Antonio Burciaga and a memorial for the New Mexican
Asian powers and the Western world, ultimately becoming a poet and storyteller Jim Sagel, as well as a pair of pastoral
peninsula divided. parodies and screenplays for a “Hispanic” game show and
— Donald E. Landrum three sitcoms. But really, Herrera and Arroyo start and end
Gainesville College (Ga.) on the same blue note. This is about being a Latino with
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
too many things to say, about hunger and pain, about face
Poetry masks and word masks, about providing clues to the clueless
and voices for the voiceless.
12-1-0029 — Lori Tsang
Arroyo, Rané. Home Movies of Narcissus. Tucson: Univ. Washington, D.C.
of Arizona Press, 2002. 75 pp. ISBN 0-8165-2195-6, $14.95
Castillo, Sandra M. My Father Sings to My Embarrassment.
Herrera, Juan Felipe. Notebooks of a Chile Verde Buffalo, N.Y.: White Pine Press, 2002. 93 pp. ISBN 1-893996-
Smuggler. Tucson: Univ. of Arizona Press, 2002. 210 pp. 52-2, $14.00 (pb).
ISBN 0-8165-2215-4, $17.95 (pb).
Cuban-American scholar Pamela M. Smarkoloff has stated
t continued poetry reviews
that writers from the Caribbean are defined by history and borders.
geography. Castillo is one of those writers. She was born in Reversible Monuments is a valuable contribution to world
Cuba shortly after Castro took over the government and fled literature. This anthology is an excellent source for academic
to the United States with her family in 1970. Twenty-four libraries and for courses in Mexican and Latin American lit-
years later, she returned to the island, visited her old neigh- erature, as well as for students of literature in translation and
borhood, and spent time with her relatives. It was a turning for general readers of contemporary poetry.
point in her life, and from that experience came the poems — Alva V. Cellini
that make up this volume. St. Bonaventure Univ.
The book is part history, part autobiography. The first 12-1-0032
section recounts Castro’s victory over the dictatorship of Ríos, Alberto. The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body.
Fulgencio Batista in 1959 and echoes the hopes of those Port Townsend, Wash.: Copper Canyon Press, 2002. 110 pp.
who wanted to see Havana free from corrupt politicians and ISBN 1-55659-173-X, $14.00 (pb).
American gangsters. The last section is an inventory of the These days, maybe you scrambled through a hole under
atrocities committed by the current regime. Looming large a fence. But before, you could have been strolling down
and legendary is Ernesto “Che” Guevara, whom the poet a street. And before that, maybe you stayed still but were
sees as a symbol of the revolutionary struggle, a defeated and overtaken by some signatures and an exchange of money.
betrayed idealist who, according to Castillo, renounced his “In this light,” says Ríos, “You are not where you were but
Cuban citizenship before his death in the jungles of Bolivia. you have not moved.”
The autobiographical poems tell of Castillo’s sense of loss in With The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body, Ríos takes
the United States, her yearnings for the familiar geography us back to pre-NAFTA Nogales, overlapping time and space,
of her island, and her return to Cuba, a place of childhood history and memory, and challenging the arbitrariness of
memories that no longer exists. definitions and even of language. One moment you are in
Castillo writes in a flowing, easy style that makes her Mexico, in the next the United States.
thoughts as clear as the Caribbean, writing passages in These poems reveal what is perceived but unseen—the
Spanish, purposely code-switching as if to reaffirm her con- inner crevices of the body, mind, heart—wants and desires
nection with her Cuban origins. Castillo is caught between crouching in the shadows now coaxed into light. They are
two maps, two worlds: Cuba and Miami. She is caught playful, erotic, and charming, yet visceral, muscular, and
between two decades: the nostalgic Cuba of 1959 and the sometimes surreal, employing unlikely metaphors and incon-
impoverished island of the 1990s. gruous associations that make perfect sense.
— Danilo H. Figueredo Actually, what happens in these poems is not so much rev-
Bloomfield College Library elation as recognition. Escuche el pulso del cuerpo. A boy trans-
mogrifies into a bird. A bird transmogrifies into an orange.
12-1-0031 A man becomes a dog, which becomes a coyote. Experience
De la Torre, Mónica and Wiegers, Michael, eds. Reversible transforms itself into knowledge, and then wisdom.
Monuments: Contemporary Mexican Poetry. Port — Lori Tsang
Townsend, Wash.: Copper Canyon Press, 2002. 696 pp. Bilingual Washington, D.C.
(Spanish-English) ed. ISBN 1-55659-159-4, $20.00 (pb).
This collection of nearly 200 distinguished Mexican Saldaña, Excilia. In the Vortex of the Cyclone: Selected
poems written by 31 highly esteemed poets born in the last Poems by Excilia Saldaña. Gainesville: Univ. Press of
half century is particularly appealing due to the variety of Florida, 2002. 128 pp. Trans. from Spanish and edited by
Mexican cultural topics that reflect different periods, loca- Flora González Mandri and Rosamond Rosenmeier. Bilingual
tions, and experiences from the historical past to modern (Spanish-English) ed. ISBN 0-8130-2459-5, $34.95.
Mexican society. The poems, written in Spanish as well as
in several indigenous languages, are presented with English Suárez, Virgil. Guide to the Blue Tongue. Champaign:
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
translations on facing pages. Readers will be captured by the Univ. of Illinois Press, 2002. 75 pp. ISBN 0-252-02734-5,
multicultural voices, images, and metaphors, together with $35.00 (cl); 0-252-07050-X, $13.95 (pb).
the unique and innovative verse forms, styles, and aesthetic
patterns. The poems reflect the spirit of the poets and touch Two books of poetry by two Cuban authors, but with a
one’s innermost feelings. difference: One was written by a Cuban who lives in the
The English translators transmit the images, rhetorical ele- United States while the other was penned by a poet who
ments, poetic language, and tone of the original language, stayed on the island. And as many readers know, such geo-
preserving skillfully the intent of the original compositions. graphical, cultural, and political considerations do shape the
The introduction educates the reader to an appreciation of literature produced by writers from Cuba.
Mexican poetry in general, and to these new poets and their Guide to the Blue Tongue is a meditation on Shakespeare and
lyrical artistry, by highlighting cross-cultural literary differ- The Tempest. The narrators of these poems are Prospero and
ences necessary for appreciating poetic art across linguistic Caliban, ancient icons of exile and displacement. Prospero
longs for his youth and his home. Writes exile Suárez, “at In “Like a Cheetah. Nature Poem,” the poet writes, “Like a
night he sighs/and curses the darkness. By candlelight he panther he stalked her./Meaning: the jungle beneath her
reads/his ancient texts, tries to find order in the minute/the belly” by “the light of fireflies called nipples.”
mundane.” Caliban longs for Prospero’s daughter: “Caliban The backdrop of the poetry is today’s bubbling and boil-
each morning…walks around the house to a bedroom win- ing, hybrid Israel. Someck makes references to his Sephardi
dow,/watches Miranda sleep or linger in front of her/vanity roots in Iraq and to the Arab and Israeli tensions. His work,
smoothing silken hair, her divine face moon-/like on the however, never falls into political argumentation and finger
mirror, and he feels himself/crumble, piece by piece.” Each pointing but calls forth the irony of the lamentable chasm
man desires what is beyond his reach, a condition so well separating “normal” expectations and the grim reality of the
known to the Cubans who live in exile, Cubans who long current political situation.
for pre-Castro Cuba. — Daniel Grossberg
Saldaña experiences a different pain: that of racism and State Univ. of New York at Albany
machismo. In the Vortex of the Cyclone celebrates her African
ancestry, recalling the oppression visited on the African 12-1-0035
slaves uprooted from their homes and brought to Cuba Tabios, Eileen R. Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole:
to labor and die in chains during colonial times. She also Poems. New York: Marsh Hawk Press, 2002. 124 pp. ISBN
affirms her womanhood, speaking freely of the act of mak- 0-9713332-8-9, $12.95 (pb).
ing love and the act of choosing when to make love and with
whom, something often denied to women in Latin America, In her debut collection of poetry for an American audi-
where the society at large is still male-driven and focused. ence, Philippine National Book Award winner Tabios explores
She writes: “your hands traverse the repeated unison of my a panoply of topics including cyberspace, blind dates, an
breasts/And your hands traverse the brown naiveté of my investment banker, Latin, adultery, the poet Phrynichos, and
breasts/And your hands simply traverse my breasts/And they an empty flagpole. While poetry enthusiasts in this country
touch/They feel.” know of Tabios’s work from reading American publications,
Suárez’s poetry is fast-moving, short, and to the point, this is the first book ever in America that showcases her
like an MTV video. Saldaña’s poems are long and intricate, work exclusively. In 63 poems, the Filipina artist displays her
beginning slowly and then rushing on to a climax, some- prowess, her knack for documenting the subtle nuances of all
thing like a Caribbean hurricane. Suárez seems to have been sensory descriptions, and her wit for metaphoric expression
influenced by writers like Allan Ginsberg and William Carlos that only a talented poet can convey.
Williams. Saldaña, on the other hand, calls Nicolás Guillén While some ethnic writers choose to limit their focus,
and Nancy Morejón, poets who popularized Afro-Cuban Tabios casts a broad net. In one section of Reproductions she
themes in Cuban poetry, her mentors. Suárez longs for a ruminates about an aspect of Greek art. In another she pon-
Cuba that was. Saldaña longs for a Cuba that never was. ders various icons of Philippine colonization, including the so-
— Danilo H. Figueredo called “Borrowed Tongue,” a term for American English often
Bloomfield College Library used by native-born Filipinos, and the Balikbayan—Filipinos
from overseas who return to visit the Philippines. And in
12-1-0034 other sections, she recounts her experiences as a woman living
Someck, Ronny. The Fire Stays in Red: Poems. Madison: in New York City. Because of the breadth of topics explored
Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 2002. 130 pp. Trans. from Hebrew here, this volume is recommended for poetry readers at all
by Moshe Dor and Barbara Goldberg. Co-published with levels—whether discerning aficionados or novices.
Dryad Press. ISBN 0-299-17900-1, $24.95 (cl); 0-299-17904-4, — Sam Cacas
$15.95 (pb). San Francisco, Calif.
This bilingual edition, with English and Hebrew on facing 12-1-0036
pages, features an excellent translation by Dor and Goldberg Taube, Herman. Looking Back, Going Forward: New
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
that captures Someck’s shocking and arresting use of lan- and Selected Poems. Takoma Park, Md.: Dryad Press,
guage. The slangy, contemporary tone suffuses the English 2002. 160 pp. ISBN 1-928755-03-8, $16.95 (pb).
and Hebrew alike.
Someck’s power is in his rapidly shifting imagery. He This work is a passionate evocation of the Holocaust.
draws from vastly disparate semantic fields and sense Whether by design or by inability to remain silent, Taube
domains within the work as a whole and within single keeps the memory of the painful years alive within each of
poems. Fire, King Saul, Martin Buber, traffic signals, electric his poems. The title of the work is not so much an expres-
wires, and a crop duster’s acrobatics, for example, sit side by sion of two discrete actions or options as it is Taube’s expres-
side in the brief eight lines of the poem, “The Fire Stays in sion of inseparably linked exigencies of life.
Red.” Moreover, Someck exhibits a penchant for the lusty, Amidst the abundant brutality and bitter experiences of
earthy, and erotic within his kaleidoscopic representations. which Taube writes, a kindness and a warmth frequently sur-
t continued folklore and criticism reviews
face. In a poem ironically entitled “Competition,” in which 1, $49.50 (cl); 0-8047-3040-5, $21.95 (pb).
jealousy, hunger, sickness, and starvation mark most of the
work, humanity and good will shine forth in the end. In this collection of essays, noted scholars such as Werner
In the section entitled “Meditations,” Taube treats the Sollors, Hertha D. Sweet Wong, and Patricia Riley provide
reader to a miscellany of penetrating reflections on the writ- a critical foundation for a reconstruction of literary value
er’s life. For example, he confesses his inner struggle: “I don’t that crosses the border between multicultural American
feel adequate enough to express/my thoughts in the English literatures and traditional American literature. In his intro-
language./I am still under the spell of Yiddish Which/is con- duction, Brennan argues that American literatures very often
cealed deep in my heart and mind.” He also writes of the cannot be contained within one ethnic “corral.” Riley sup-
joys of the poet, “The excitement of writing poetry is a feel- ports this assertion by writing, “The American public has
ing of happiness when one makes an unexpected discovery.” not a few preconceived notions about Indians, and they
Lines like these remain in the mind of the reader long after would generally prefer not to have these images disrupted.”
the book is closed. However, Native American authors of mixed blood heritage,
— Daniel Grossberg like Leslie Marmon Silko, often do disrupt Native American
State Univ. of New York at Albany stereotypes in literature by producing work that observes the
Folklore traditions of both Native American storytelling and Western
European literary expression. This movement between eth-
12-1-0037 nic “corrals” writes outside of “established racial categories
Mindlin, Betty and indigenous storytellers. Barbecued [and refuses to support] the strong hold they maintain over
Husbands: And Other Stories from the Amazon. New most Americans.”
York: Verso, 2002. 310 pp. ISBN 1-85984-681-5, $21.00. The essays provide critical affirmation of literary work
that refuses to be “corralled,” and in so doing, provide a text
This work brings together several dozen short narra- that will become a useful component of American literature
tives from six indigenous cultures in the Brazilian state of classrooms.
Rondônia. Anthropologist Mindlin transcribed the tales to — Lesliee Antonette
Portuguese from oral delivery primarily in the native lan- East Stroudsburg Univ. of Pennsylvania
guages of the narrators—Macurap, Tupari, Ajuru, Jabuti,
Arikapu, Aruá—and the Portuguese is here translated to 12-1-0039
English. This volume is one of a series of narrative antholo- González, Ray. The Underground Heart: A Return to a
gies she has compiled. Hidden Landscape. Tucson: Univ. of Arizona Press, 2002.
The importance of this book is that it preserves the last 170 pp. ISBN 0-8165-2032-1, $35.00 (cl); 0-8165-2034-8,
native transmission of these narrative cultures. Most of $17.95 (pb).
these native languages have hardly a half dozen speakers
remaining. The common theme of these tales is love and González contemplates his return to the Southwest after
conflict between the sexes, and there is much frankness in a 20-year absence, using the essay form for exercises in
the recounting of sexual and other intimate details. There is thought experiment that blur the line between insider and
much of maidens and hunters, wise or conniving animals, outsider reporting in a sort of critical tourism that challenges
in-laws, floating heads, physical abnormalities, and the “official versions” of history. To the degree that the official
like. The book concludes with several instructive sections: a versions of history González critiques merit attention, his
critique of the mythology of the tales, profiles of the indige- essays are intriguing, generative, and incisive.
nous narrators, an examination of the state of the languages One representative essay is “The Walls of San Antonio.”
and cultures, and a glossary of the languages. It critiques the high-dollar investment in tourism made by
The brevity and layers of narrative status (oral to written San Antonio as shown in the River Walk, Mission Trail, and
to edited) and of translating (from indigenous language to the Cultural Arts Center by identifying mestizaje—the blend-
Portuguese to English) have given the vignettes a homog- ing-of-cultures theme in San Antonio’s touristic “heritage”
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
enized quality. Nonetheless, Claude Lévi-Strauss has com- that also parallels the dominant understanding of Latin
mented that the book is “an impressive collection that will American culture in Central and South America—as con-
rank among the great classics of Amerindian mythology.” servative and backed by elite social interests. This mestizo
— Edward A. Riedinger heritage, González argues insightfully, is but a distraction
Ohio State Univ. Libraries from the worst neighborhoods in the Southwest where gang
violence, poverty, and inequality represent the norm instead
Criticism of a quaint blending of cultures.
When the official versions of history that González
12-1-0038 chooses to critique are some of the mom-and-pop low-bud-
Brennan, Jonathan, ed. Mixed Race Literature. Stanford, get variety of museums found all over the Southwest, his
Calif.: Stanford Univ. Press, 2002. 234 pp. ISBN 0-8047-3639- essays become tedious. Nonetheless, the volume is worth the
read for “The Walls of San Antonio” alone. of expression, varying from nineteenth-century slave and
— James C. Jupp travel narratives, to an autobiographical novel, to a late-
Austin (Tex.) Independent School District twentieth-century AIDS elegy, among others. All of these
styles of autobiography show evidence of familiar Caribbean
themes such as race, identity, migration, alienation, and
12-1-0040 death. Especially compelling is the fact that at least half
McAlister, Elizabeth. Rara! Vodou, Power, and of the writings were the product of black, East Indian, and
Performance in Haiti and Its Diaspora. Berkeley: Univ. white women from a variety of classes and backgrounds.
of California Press, 2002. 260 pp. Includes 24-track CD. ISBN Although Paquet at times analyzes the autobiography of
0-520-22822-7, $60.00 (cl); 0-520-22823-5, $24.95 (pb). one author in depth, she often compares and contrasts the
works of two writers. Except for certain somewhat ponder-
Wesleyan religion professor McAlister spent years study- ous introductory chapters, the book is written in a clear and
ing Rara, a series of Lenten musical parades that take place straightforward style.
annually in Haiti, and its diaspora. This book, which is — Jayne R. Boisvert
accompanied by a compact disc, presents the results of her Russell Sage College
examination of these popular public festivals, little known 12-1-0042
or understood by outside observers. Pavlic, Edward M. Crossroads Modernism: Descent and
McAlister first explains that Rara originated among Emergence in African-American Literary Culture.
repressed members of Haitian society: the peasant classes Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2002. 368 pp. ISBN
and the urban poor. The family members and neighbors 0-8166-3891-8, $54.95 (cl); 0-8166-3892-6, $19.95 (pb).
who comprise the various Rara bands combine both Carnival
play and the serious religious work of Vodou. Certain vulgar, Pavlic “explores the ways in which major African-American
so-called betiz (or “foolishness”) songs are polysemic and at writers have negotiated [the] complex terrain [of American
times contain satirical political and social commentary that and European Modernism].” In this work, he argues that there
might be considered treasonous if communicated in any has been a false distinction made, in American literary studies,
other form. A symbolic progression from the home to the between the creative visions of twentieth-century black artists
crossroads and finally to the cemetery enables the Raras to and the principles of modernism.
perform religious rituals. McAlister goes on to describe the Pavlic brings together some of the more complex art and
origins of the remarkable association of Rara participants artists of the African-American tradition with the critical
with the Jews, and their divisions into elaborate military history of the Modernist movement in both Europe and
hierarchies within the groups. A final chapter deals with the America. He explores the work of Ellison, Hurston, and
American form of Rara and its connection with Rastafarian Baldwin, among others, in order to illuminate the ways in
and hip-hop music. which these African-American authors can be read as “Afro-
This is a very informative, well-researched, and well-writ- Modern” authors. This complicated effort brings together
ten study with a helpful, though modest, glossary at the the most serpentine philosophy of Europe with a complex
end of the text. Anyone interested in understanding Haitian understanding of West African cultural influence on African-
culture will discover a wealth of information in this book. American authors. The effort is worth the read. This is a valu-
— Jayne R. Boisvert able reference text for anyone interested in expanding his or
Russell Sage College her understanding of the American literary tradition.
— Lesliee Antonette
12-1-0041 East Stroudsburg Univ. of Pennsylvania
Paquet, Sandra Pouchet. Caribbean Autobiography:
Cultural Identity and Self-Representation. Madison: Visual and Performing Arts
Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 2002. 345 pp. ISBN 0-299-17690-8,
$60.00 (cl); 0-299-17694-0, $24.95 (pb). 12-1-0043
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
Browner, Tara. Heartbeat of the People: Music and
This innovative examination of autobiography breaks Dance of the Northern Powwow. Champaign: Univ. of
new ground in Caribbean scholarship. A professor of English Illinois Press, 2002. 170 pp. ISBN 0-252-02714-0, $29.95.
at the University of Miami, Paquet has analyzed a diverse
selection of autobiographical forms by over a dozen authors One of the most important unifying elements of North
from different Anglophone countries of the region. American Indians is the powwow—a melding of traditional
The volume explores writers as disparate as slaves and ceremonies, social interaction, and entertainment. Yet despite
free blacks from the colonial period, like the Hart sisters, its importance, the origins, traditions, and evolution of the
Mary Prince, and Mrs. Seacole, to living authors, like Jamaica powwow are obscure. Browner goes a long way toward clari-
Kincaid and recent Nobel laureate V. S. Naipaul. The authors’ fying the powwow tradition and its contemporary practice.
diversity manifests itself in multifaceted and dynamic modes She begins with a general introduction to the powwow and
t continued visual & performing arts reviews
an explanation of different theories and methodologies used stood in Seattle’s prewar Nihonmachi or Japantown. It’s not
in her own, and other, studies. Next, she examines of the too surprising that this book, published by the Seattle Arts
origins of the powwow, which include ceremonies of specific Commission, has a strong focus on the Seattle area, but it
tribes, intertribal gatherings, and even the “wild west” shows also covers Japantowns in California.
of the late nineteenth century. She analyzes specific dances This attractive little book, rich in historical photos on
that make up the powwow and includes alternative theories quality paper, gives histories, including oral histories, of
of their origins. She explores the structure and function of not only Japantowns but also other places important to
contemporary powwows, then further illuminates the mean- Japanese-American heritage. Included are chapters on a
ing of the powwow through interviews with participants. Northwest lumber town (about a quarter of the residents
Heartbeat of the People succeeds in emphasizing the pow- were Japanese immigrant families who lived in a segregated
wow as an important practical and symbolic cohesive element section), a Buddhist temple, a Japanese dry-goods store, and
in modern Native American life. It is an important addition a bowling alley. The book not only tells the stories of those
to the literature on this topic. Highly recommended. specific places but also provides a general history of Japanese
— Andy J. Deering in America, including immigration, the wartime internment
Central Wyoming College and the postwar periods of assimilation, and trying to pre-
12-1-0044 serve cultural identity.
Collins, Lisa Gail. The Art of History: African American Dubrow, a professor of architecture and urban planning
Women Artists Engage the Past. Piscataway, N.J.: Rutgers at the University of Washington, gives credit to the other
Univ. Press, 2002. 224 pp. Illus. ISBN 0-8135-3021-0, $60.00 contributors as well as a host of community sources, includ-
(cl); 0-8135-3022-9, $26.00 (pb). ing Seattle City Light and the Seattle Arts Commission,
which provided major financial support.
In her quest to discover reasons for the scarcity of art Rather than being an eccentric work with narrow appeal,
historical narratives of black art, Collins notes a paradox in this should be of interest to students of Japanese-American
African-American intellectual discourse. Although “there is history and culture as well as Northwest and California his-
a concern with visual culture,” it is “matched by a lack of tory. Finally, it is a strong example of a practical collabora-
interest in the work of black visual artists,” while music, tion between scholars and public and private foundations.
literature, and drama are fully examined. — Al Hikida
Moreover, the neglect of the plastic arts has a long histo- Seattle Central Community College
ry. Collins cites the questionnaire in the February 1926 issue
of The Crisis, edited by W. E. B. Du Bois, titled “The Negro 12-1-0046
in Art: How Shall He Be Portrayed.” Of the 22 responses, not Finckenstein, Maria von, ed. Nuvisavik: The Place Where
one was from a person working in the visual arts. The Black We Weave. Seattle: Univ. of Washington Press, 2002. 216
Arts 1969 manifesto, while extolling the role of art in lib- pp. Illus. ISBN 0-295-98201-2, $35.00 (pb).
eration struggles, avoided discussion of plastic art or artists.
The arts noted were music, poetry, and literature. In 1987 Von Finckenstein draws together articles that document
Du Bois’s questionnaire was reprinted in Black American the modern development of tapestries as an Inuit art form.
Literature Forum. The printed responses were again from liter- They show the progress of a social development project in
ary figures only. the 1960s that brought Canada’s largest hand-weaving firm
This complex scholarly study attempts to change the dis- together with the superb embroidery and sewing skills of the
course by examining the historical portrayal of black people, Inuit women. The project began with amauti sashes, which
especially women, from the early nineteenth century to the injected color into everyday life and into royal occasions
present. The women artists Collins chose are photographers, such as when the Queen of England and her family were
painters, sculptors, and filmmakers. They have used pseu- presented with special sashes. These bursts of color evolved
doscientific images of a racist past to inform their current into tapestries that documented domestic scenes and then
work, images of black women. An important, serious work, tapped into the mythology of the land to provide scenes that
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
it belongs in college and university libraries. depicted culture, environment, and history in individual
— Betty Kaplan Gubert productions or “editions” of 10 or 20 or more.
New York, N.Y. This volume traces the people who participated in the
work of the project, the Pangnirtung Tapestry Studio, recre-
12-1-0045 ating a 30-year journey through the voices of the weavers,
Dubrow, Gail, with Donna Graves. Sento at Sixth and designers, curators, and managers. The articles by various
Main: Preserving Landmarks of Japanese American experts are richly informative and give the reader insight into
Heritage. Seattle: Univ. of Washington Press, 2002. 232 pp. Inuit values and beliefs. Each delightful tapestry is accompa-
Illus. with photos. ISBN 0-295-98245-4, $19.95 (pb). nied by photos of the artist and full catalogue information.
— Marlene Atleo (Nuu-chah-nulth)
The title refers to the old public bathhouse that once Nanaimo, B.C.
The individual photographic plates, exquisitely printed,
12-1-0047 reveal the remarkable dignity of the human spirit in a people
Grimes, John R.; Feest, Christian F.; and Curran, Mary Lou. who, already having endured the scourges of slavery, were
Uncommon Legacies: Native American Art from the now thrust into a reality of renewed humiliations and deg-
Peabody Essex Museum. Seattle: Univ. of Washington radations based solely on racial identity. A series of well-writ-
Press, 2002. 272 pp. Illus. ISBN 0-295-98240-3, $60.00. ten essays provides crucial context and history to the period
in which these compelling images were made.
This is surely one of the most beautiful and scholarly cata- In our supposedly enlightened times, it is essential that we
logues ever published. It pictures the first comprehensive get to know these individual African Americans who bravely
exhibition of the Peabody Essex Museum’s collection of early endured what no human should, and yet through their cour-
Native American art. The museum, in Salem, Massachusetts, age, tenacity, and grace, eventually ennobled us all.
may have the nation’s oldest ongoing collection of such art. — John Caputo
Founded in 1799, the museum’s history is told engagingly. Siena College
Collected as ethnic artifacts or “curiosities,” the eighteenth
century’s term for “an object of wondrous quality, meriting
appreciation and study,” they became objects of surpassing 12-1-0049
artistic worth. Korall, Burt. Drummin’ Men—The Heartbeat of Jazz:
The works are highlighted one or two to a page, are most- The Bebop Years. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2002. 306
ly in color, and are accompanied by a scholarly description. pp. ISBN 0-19-514812-6, $35.00.
The different traditions and artistic conventions of the peo-
ples of the Southeast, Pacific Coast, Northwest, and South The set drummer played a crucial role within bebop jazz
America, among others, are represented. A small number of music, the mid-twentieth century style that followed the big
works from European collections are included, testifying to band era of World War II and preceded the fusion of rock
the powerful appeal that Native American cultures have had. with jazz. This period was characterized by atonality, com-
Extraordinary creative invention is shown in the beadwork bined with basic harmony, and freedoms in rhythm as well
on belts, moccasins, and cradle wrappings; in the designs of as melody. The volume’s cover features a model drummer
basketry and blankets; and in the variety of materials used. playing a mounted tom-tom.
Besides shells, leather, wood, argillite, and plant fiber, sea The book’s strengths are its biographical sketches and
lion intestine and esophagus were used to make waterproof the tracing of the development of the drum set. The author
coats and shirts, which were then embroidered. practices jazz drumming himself and has written for the
With a bibliography and a glossary of tribal names, this New York Times. Terminology in this well-written book is
exceptional publication is a valued addition to academic and standard, evincing the author’s familiarity with the subject.
public libraries. Biographees include Max Roach, Jo Jones, Shelly Manne,
— Betty Kaplan Gubert and Ed Shaughnessy, among others. The title Drummin’ Men
New York, N.Y. makes it clear that women in the bebop era were usually not
set drummers. Times have changed.
12-1-0048 — Geary Larrick
Johnson, Thomas L. and Root, Nina J., eds. Camera Stevens Point, Wis.
Man’s Journey: Julian Dimock’s South. Athens: Univ.
of Georgia Press, 2002. 191 pp. Illus. with photos. ISBN 0- 12-1-0050
8203-2424-8, $39.95. Massood, Paula J. Black City Cinema: African American
Urban Experiences in Film. Philadelphia: Temple Univ.
These powerful glimpses into the reality of a South one Press, 2003. 272 pp. ISBN 1-59213-002-X, $69.50 (cl); 1-
hundred years removed in time are a stunning and pro- 59213-003-8, $19.95 (pb).
vocative anachronism alerting us to a profoundly moving
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
chapter of human history that far too often is ignored by the Massood masterfully explores the cinematic use and char-
nation with which it is forever bound. acterization of metropolitan spaces in this chronology of
It is tempting to accept Camera Man’s Journey as a visu- African-American film. Skillfully, she analyzes urban visual
ally beautiful evocation of the African-American experience and aural iconography in broader socioeconomic, political,
in the South Carolina of the early 1900s, one that reflects and industrial contexts. Her approach is both comprehensive
the earnest neutrality of an emerging photographic anthro- and diverse as she includes films ranging from Cabin in the
pology as seen through the camera lens of an empathetic Sky and Stormy Weather to Down in the Delta and Bamboozled.
Caucasian from the North. That would be a grave mistake, Not only does Massood have a complex understanding of
for this is an important book, one that deserves serious film theory and production, but she is also well versed in
attention and reflection far beyond the limited geographic U.S. history and does an apt job of communicating many of
and sociological scope with which it so gently presents her understandings to her readers.
itself. While I found the author’s insights refreshing and became
totally engaged with the text, I questioned the book’s mas- was arrested for antifascist activities and spent a year in
culinist focus. The work of male filmmakers generally, and Auschwitz, from 1944 to 1945. He survived the death camp
Spike Lee in particular, appear predominant. Whereas I real- only because of his training as a chemist and his obsession
ize Lee’s significant impact on black cinema, approximately with being a witness. His intense wish to understand and
three of the book’s eight chapters focus on Lee’s work. In his curiosity as a scientist fixed in him the idea that he must
fairness to Massood, there were references to some female survive to tell the world what he had seen.
directors and some films with female protagonists. Yet much Angier’s book is a gripping narrative that tracks Levi’s life,
of the book focused on exploring the ways in which black from a childhood in which he was often unnoticed or despised
masculinity (situated in the United States in this instance) by his peers through his shocking plunge down the stairwell
has been constructed through black film. in his home (ruled a suicide) in 1987. Despite the length of
One tangential point: A glossary or quick reference guide the book, the author keeps hold of the reader throughout. She
would have been very helpful, as the author uses very com- recounts interviews (some secret) with Levi’s most intimate
plex terms and concepts. friends, examines the psychological nature of his relationships,
— Dierdre Glenn Paul and reveals Levi’s inner conflicts and emotions, including his
Montclair State Univ. intense reserve, fear of women, and need for people—particu-
larly himself—to be morally beyond reproach.
biography/autobiography This book is a must-read for anyone studying the
Holocaust and is particularly recommended for high school
12-1-0051 students, for whom it may awaken an interest in reading
Anderson, Stanice. I Say a Prayer for Me. New York: Levi’s invaluable books.
Warner Books, 2002. 340 pp. ISBN 0-446-53034-4, $21.95. — Robyn De Santis Ringler
Ballston Lake, N.Y.
Anderson, formerly of USA Today online, is an inspira-
tional speaker at 12-step programs offering encouragement 12-1-0053
to recovering addicts. She also serves as a mentor to women Buffalo Tiger and Kersey, Harry A., Jr. Buffalo Tiger: A Life
recovering from addictions and abusive relationships. These in the Everglades. Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 2002.
achievements stem from her African-American upper-class 185 pp. ISBN 0-8032-1317-4, $27.95.
upbringing in Washington, D.C., and recovery from addic-
tion to drugs, which are the focus of her autobiography. This autobiography of Buffalo Tiger, elder of the
When Anderson experimented with drugs, she never imag- Miccosukees in South Florida, is remarkable in its down-to-
ined she would become an addict. However, she plummeted earth portrayal of Miccosukee life and politics in the twenti-
into full-fledged addiction, becoming what she describes as eth century. A collaborative project between professor Kersey
“a lonely, desperate, moral-less, and bitter woman hell bent and the longtime tribal spokesman, this book takes us from
on self-destruction.” One day, while shooting drugs and an intimate look at Buffalo Tiger’s traditional, matriarchal
watching the Christian television show “The 700 Club,” she childhood in the Everglades to the efforts of learning to live
heard someone say that God loved her. She responded to alongside white America, and finally through the tribe’s
this call to undertake the arduous journey to reclaim her life. struggle for recognition. It closes fittingly with Buffalo Tiger’s
She goes on to tell how she persevered through this turbu- thoughts on the Miccosukees’ heritage and their future.
lent time. Her faith in God and the 12-step program saved An unassuming storyteller, Buffalo Tiger relates not only
her from self-destruction. Her story also features prayers and the history and politics of a century, but also the culture
verses from the Bible after each chapter. and spirit of his people. Readers learn the importance of
Anderson’s experience is heartfelt. She shares her vulner- Breathmaker and the Green Corn Dance and follow the
abilities with honesty and objectivity. For these reasons Miccosukee as they lead indigenous people in the process
her book is for readers who may need motivation in their of self-determination. The book includes candid views on
struggles to survive. differences: among tribe members, with the Seminoles, and
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
— Dora Love with the U.S. government. Kersey helps put Buffalo Tiger’s
San Francisco, Calif. stories within a historical framework by providing an excel-
lent introduction, prefaces to each chapter, and an after-
12-1-0052 word. The authors’ words open the mind’s eye to the sights,
Angier, Carole. The Double Bond: Primo Levi: A sounds, and feel of the Miccosukee’s Everglades, making for
Biography. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2002. 898 a truly enjoyable and educational read.
pp. ISBN 0-374-11315-7, $40.00. — Alicia M. Bartol-Thomas
Levi, a native of Turin, Italy, was one of the best writers
to emerge from the Holocaust. His memoirs include Survival 12-1-0054
in Auschwitz, The Reawakening, and The Periodic Table. Levi Coetzee, J. M. Youth. New York: Viking, 2002. 169 pp. ISBN
0-670-03102-X, $22.95. photographs enhances the portrayal of this unique writer.
This is an excellent book for those already familiar with
Irony defines Youth, the sequel to Coetzee’s mem- Allende’s novels who want to learn more about the relation-
oir Boyhood. The subtitle for both texts, “Scenes from a ship between the author and her works. The author’s meth-
Provincial Life,” immediately establishes the ironic thrust of od is an avenue to gaining valuable insights into Allende’s
Youth, set primarily in seemingly nonprovincial London. fiction. The translation is impressive.
Youth is a deceptively simple yet brilliant piece. Written — Rosita Chazaretta-Rourke
intriguingly in the generically ambiguous third person, it Clarion Univ. of Pennsylvania
documents a young man’s search for a new life in a new 12-1-0056
country independent of a difficult family and away from an Fortunate Eagle, Adam. Heart of the Rock: The Indian
untenable South African national policy. The heart of the Invasion of Alcatraz. Norman: Univ. of Oklahoma Press,
tale, however, is the desire to live as an intellectual and art- 2002. 232 pp. Written in collaboration with Tim Findley.
ist. As the unnamed main character explores his new envi- Foreword by Vine Deloria, Jr. ISBN 0-8061-3396-1, $29.95.
ronment and attempts to make meaning of the mundane
necessities of daily life—eating, socializing, and earning a Reyes, Lawney L. White Grizzly Bear’s Legacy: Learning
living—he interrogates his condition honestly. to Be Indian. Seattle: Univ. of Washington Press, 2002. 216
Work situations begin with a numbing computer pro- pp. ISBN 0-295-98202-0, $23.95.
grammer position in the city, providing a meager income. These books would seem to have little in common, yet
The paucity of material comforts seems less troublesome, there are connections. Both authors are Native—Reyes is of
though, than the lack of fulfilling human interactions, par- Sin Aikst heritage (part of the Colville Confederation) and
ticularly with women, which invariably appear beyond the Fortunate Eagle is Ojibwa. Both focus on events of the past;
man’s capability. He finds greater satisfaction, ironically, both suffered the insults and indignities of racism, including
outside the capital, as a programmer/researcher for an excit- education at Indian boarding schools. These, however, are
ing, but ethically questionable, state project. among the few similarities in two contrasting life stories.
Reviewers have castigated Youth as a tale of predominant Fortunate Eagle was one of the many Native Americans
misery or obsessive self-examination. They have missed whose families were uprooted by termination, and he even-
the self-reflexive humor and prevailing irony that lighten tually moved to San Francisco with his wife and settled
Coetzee’s story and create a compelling narrative. into urban life, apparently fully “assimilated.” Still, he
— Anne Serafin maintained a tenuous connection with local Indian orga-
Newton North High School, Newtonville, Mass. nizations and eventually became one of the core activists
who attempted the takeover of Alcatraz Island. Alcatraz had
12-1-0055 long been a notorious federal prison, with famous inmates
Correas Zapata, Celia. Isabel Allende: Life and Spirits. like Al Capone and Robert Stroud (Birdman of Alcatraz) and
Houston, Tex.: Arte Público, 2002. 204 pp. Trans. from Spanish many Indians, some whose only crime had been to resist the
by Margaret Sayers Peden. ISBN 1-55885-363-4, $26.95. forced removal of their children to faraway schools. When
the island was abandoned in the late 1960s, Fortunate Eagle
In this tribute in life to Allende, Correas Zapata, an inti- helped to take it over and hold it for more than 19 months.
mate friend of the Chilean writer, looks into Allende’s past The story he tells is one of idealism gone wrong, an enter-
in order to explore her multifaceted personality and the evo- prise brought down by internal strife and external chicanery.
lution of her works. According to Allende, most of her novels The potentially powerful symbolic occupation is now just a
originate in her personal history. Correas Zapata amalgam- footnote in the history of the turbulent ‘60s.
ates the world of Allende’s real-life experiences with the Reyes also suffered relocation, but in his case the cause
fictional one as presented in novels such as The House of the was the damming of the Columbia River and the reloca-
Spirit, Eva Luna, and Paula, among others. tion less traumatic. Reyes returned from Chemawa Boarding
The book is both a literary biography and, in a sense, an School to his small-town life, and, while he came to know
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
autobiography. Correas Zapata depicts Allende’s character discrimination, he adapted to the world in which he found
and personality by discussing her political, social, and liter- himself. He eventually became art director of the Seafirst
ary views. In addition, the critic adds to the work by pre- Bank Corporation. While Reyes’s life has been less confron-
senting her own literary commentaries on Allende’s novels. tational than that of Fortunate Eagle, he has nonetheless
Moreover, through Allende’s response to a well-organized honored his cultural heritage. White Grizzly Bear’s Legacy
questionnaire, the reader hears her self-revelation, her discus- paints an idyllic picture of life growing up in a warm and
sion of her life’s journey and her relationship with her fam- loving family and includes much information about the cul-
ily, with special focus on her late daughter, Paula, and on her ture of Native people who live along the Columbia River.
mother, Panchita, her first reader and critic. A series of family Of the two books, White Grizzly Bear’s Legacy is more
t continued biography/autobiography reviews
readable and enjoyable. Heart of the Rock less grandmother whose sun-dried clothes exuded the aroma
suffers in comparison, in part because it of spring flowers. Having lost several children, Dhanna
is a collaborative work and also because dreamt that bathing at midnight in the pure water of a cer-
it reflects the chaotic times of the events tain well would protect her surviving children, and she did
it relates. Though these books are very so regularly. Kashmiris invested their beautiful landscape
different, both are worth reading. with powers to heal, protect, and destroy.
— Andy J. Deering From her ancient kitchen, Dhanna served crispy river
Central Wyoming College trout, aromatic teas, and frothy buttermilk flavored with
wild mint. Muslim and Hindu neighbors surreptitiously
exchanged delicious dishes, forbidden by their religion, over
12-1-0057 the back fence.
Hertzberg, Arthur. A Jew in America: My Life and a But now, Koul’s beloved vale has been plunged into an
People’s Struggle for Identity. San Francisco: Harper San abyss of violence. This excellent memoir, resonating with
Francisco, 2002. 480 pp. ISBN 0-06-251710-4, $32.95. an aching sense of loss, is full of unforgettable pictures of
a unique way of life and is highly recommended to anyone
What drives an American Jewish leader in the mid- to late interested in that beautiful but troubled place.
twentieth century? This important memoir by a leading figure — Jaswinder Gundara
in contemporary Jewish life suggests that nearly 2,000 years Coral Gables, Fla.
of powerlessness, culminating in the Holocaust, led to his
involvement in a broad range of activities. The descendant of 12-1-0059
Hasidic rabbis, the Polish-born author sought to find meaning Samuel, Vivette. Rescuing the Children: A Holocaust
in America by becoming a Conservative rabbi. While a con- Memoir. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 2002. 230 pp.
gregational rabbi in New Jersey, he taught history at Columbia Trans. from French and with an introduction by Charles B.
University. During that period (1956-85) he also served as a Paul. Foreword by Elie Wiesel. ISBN 0-299-17740-8, $32.95.
vice president of the World Zionist Council, as president of
the American Jewish Congress, as a consulting editor of the Samuel volunteered, at the age of 22, to be sent to an
Encyclopedia Judaica, and as chair of the International Jewish internment camp in order to save Jewish children. Despite
Committee for Interreligious Consultation, the recognized the arrest of her father and her husband by the Gestapo,
body for relations with the Vatican. despite the need to care for her own infant daughter, Samuel
Unable to save his grandfather from death at the hands carried out this work for three years until the liberation of
of the Nazis, Hertzberg devoted his energy to strengthening France. At least 400 Jewish children survived the war as a
Jewish power. Now at New York University following 10 result of her efforts.
years at Dartmouth, the 81-year-old rabbi tells of his dealings Samuel was born in France of Ukrainian Jewish parents.
with various Israeli prime ministers, papal representatives, As a student she joined a group that fed Spanish children
and U.S. government and UN officials in his struggle to steer during the Civil War. After the Nazis overran Europe, she
Jewish life into the future. was recruited to work with refugee children. She was to
— Rabbi Donald P. Cashman arrange passage for as many as possible to other countries,
Albany, N.Y. to provide refuge for those who could not escape, and at the
war’s end, to find homes for them.
12-1-0058 Appended to Samuel’s narrative are the stories of several
Koul, Sudha. The Tiger Ladies: A Memoir of Kashmir. of the children, now adults, who were rescued through her
Boston: Beacon Press, 2002. 218 pp. ISBN 0-8070-5918-8, efforts. They are tales of lives shattered and rebuilt, of loss
$24.00. and hope. This tale of great courage in the face of evil is told
simply, without melodramatics of any kind. It reminds us of
Koul’s haunting memoir of a bygone Kashmir paints an a period of Jewish history, and of French history, which has
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
intimate portrait of a Brahmin family within a close-knit been unjustly forgotten. Rescuing the Children is a valuable
community. Despite her convent school education, her addition to Holocaust literature.
enchanted childhood was rich with local folklore, elaborate — Miriam Sawyer
festivals, and rituals of weddings and births. Cradled by Rutherford (N.J.) Public Library
the Himalayas, Muslims and Hindus coexisted in harmony,
sharing a common linguistic and cultural tradition. But 12-1-0060
their state of innocence has been defiled by outsiders, who Stewart, Ian. Ambushed: A War Reporter’s Life on the
planted a cancer of sectarian violence that has been grossly Line. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill,
mishandled by a bungling Indian government. 2002. 320 pp. ISBN 1-56512-380-8, $24.95.
The author’s earliest memories are of Dhanna, her tooth-
Stewart’s autobiography of his death-defying year as augment the text superbly.
Associated Press bureau chief for West Africa starts when he Though the descriptions of torture and prison conditions
is a young, competitive, self-confessed adrenaline “junkie” are intensely painful, Wamwere’s words are beautifully crafted.
whose cravings take him into war-ravaged areas of the The memoir is a powerful and important document for those
Congo, Guinea-Bissau, and Sierra Leone. In the winter of interested in African or Kenyan issues specifically or human
1998, 10 months after his arrival in Africa, he suffers a bullet rights in general—from high school to adult readers.
to the brain. His escape from Africa turns out to be an escape — Anne Serafin
from death. Newton North High School, Newtonville, Mass.
In precise, clear prose, he depicts the excitement and 12-1-0062
boredom in his year as foreign correspondent. Stewart’s team Winner, Lauren. Girl Meets God: On the Path to a
buys tickets on the last charter flights into these war zones Religious Life. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Algonquin Books of
and bribes officials to get close to the bullets and bombs. Chapel Hill, 2002. 320 pp. ISBN 1-56512-309-3, $23.95.
His account brings Africa to life: the history and politics,
the beauty and decay, the poverty and wealth. Soon he is Girl Meets God is a misleading title for Winner’s sophis-
haunted by the atrocities he witnesses. For no known reason, ticated, articulate, literate description of her journey from
he explodes at a colleague. He decides to end his stay when secular middle-class girlhood to Orthodox Judaism, and then
he learns that his stories are relegated to the back pages of to Anglican Christianity.
the newspaper or not published at all. On the first level, this is an autobiography. Winner insists
that we pay attention to the details of her life as she moves
In England, Stewart must fight to survive his injury. With toward Christianity because that is a way of acknowledging
compassion and insight, he takes us into his brain-injured that she comes to God as a particular person with particular
mind in the intensive care unit, where he struggles to com- gifts and needs.
municate with staff and family, and where sights and smells On the second level, this is an engaging description of
of Africa haunt him. His long arduous rehabilitation ends a spiritual journey. Winner leads us through some of the
with a sense of relief. intricacies of Jewish and Christian spirituality. Perhaps
— Karen Stancer most original are her reflections on Pentecost and Shavuot.
Vancouver, B.C. Reflecting on the Christian Pentecost liturgy, she writes that
Shavuot and the Christian celebration of Pentecost celebrate
12-1-0061 human responsibility for carrying revelation into the world.
Wamwere, Koigi wa. I Refuse to Die: My Journey for On the third level, this book is a sophisticated, vernacular
Freedom. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2002. 320 pp. theology. Winner draws on Jewish and Christian sources,
Foreword by Kerry Kennedy Cuomo and Nan Richardson. Scriptural, Talmudic, and contemporary, to take us beyond
ISBN 1-58322-521-8, $24.95. her own experiences, even beyond her own journey, in order
to lead us into reflections on God and God’s presence in the
This comprehensive, informative, and engrossing memoir world. She articulates what humans can say about God and
is really three books: a tale of childhood in colonial Kenya, why their experience of God matters. Her autobiography of
an indictment of colonialism and the post-independence her spiritual journey has given her a vocabulary for studying
Kenyatta government, and a polemic against the current Torah and the Gospel as one unfolding revelation.
“dictatorship” (Wamwere’s word) of Daniel arap Moi. Openly — Mary Meany
biased, Wamwere writes unabashedly about the rigors of Siena College
his youth, education, political involvement as a member of
Parliament, marriage, and, ultimately, political imprisonments History
and release with the assistance of Amnesty International. Born
in 1949, the author creates a dynamic, extremely readable his- 12-1-0063
tory of modern Kenya. Alt, William E. and Alt, Betty L. Black Soldiers, White
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
Blending artistic control with free-form storytelling, the Wars: Black Warriors from Antiquity to the Present.
text moves among straight narrative, snatches of real and Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 2002. 160 pp. ISBN 0-275-
imaginary dialogue, songs—exemplifying an important ele- 97261-1, $64.95.
ment of Kenyan protest strategy—and poetry composed in
prison. Each major section is marked clearly by the years and The title of this work is somewhat misleading, in that
topic covered. the authors devote a disproportionate amount of space to
Wamwere’s voice speaks persuasively, drawing the reader an American experience with which they are clearly more
fully into his world. Somewhat disconcertingly, he employs familiar. The text’s categorizing of French North African
considerable repetition. While this technique is occasionally soldiers and Britain’s Indian Army as “blacks” is culturally
annoying, the narrative does not bog down and the repetition and institutionally questionable and blurs the significant
reinforces comprehension. Sixteen pages of excellent photos differences between these forces and those raised in sub-
tcontinued history reviews
Saharan Africa. To say that Indian officers, the subadars and and the American Civil War. Amherst: Univ. of
jemadars, were respected by neither their British superiors Massachusetts Press, 2002. 303 pp. ISBN 1-55849-344-1,
nor their Indian subordinates is at best an indefensible gen- $70.00 (cl); 1-55849-361-1, $19.95 (pb).
Missing as well from this work, considered as an exercise Blight, professor of history at Amherst, is a leading
in comparative history, is any discussion of the anomalous scholar of “memory studies,” the relationship of history to
nature of the African-American experience in military ser- memory. The dozen essays in this anthology, written over 15
vice. The “black” soldiers of the European powers were part years, focus on the meaning of the Civil War and the nature
of an imperial system. They had little opportunity to become of African-American history in the general context of the
full members of that system, and few were interested in the
prospect. Their segregated status frequently became the basis uneasy relationship between history as reasoned reconstruc-
for a self-definition as warriors, shock troops superior to the tion of the past and memory as the heritage and identity of
best of the “mother country’s” regiments. In contrast, blacks a community. Their subjects range from a white Union sol-
in U.S. uniforms, while taking pride in the achievements of dier’s search for manhood and freedom by participation in
segregated units, saw that situation as an intermediate stage war, through a critique of the relationship between Abraham
to equal participation in not only the armed forces, but the Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, to an especially perceptive
wider society as well. discussion of the place of battlefields in constructing Civil
— Dennis E. Showalter War memory.
Colorado College Blight, however, maintains a consistent focus on his main
theme, “respect the poets and priests,” but as historians, do
12-1-0064 not become submerged in the power of the myth, however
Bagley, Will. Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young seductive it might be. His essay on “Reunion and Race in the
and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows. Norman: Memory of the Civil War, 1875-1913,” is a model illustra-
Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 2002. 544 pp. ISBN 0-8061-3426-7, tion of the aphorism, demonstrating both the decoupling
$39.95. of the Civil War from the black experience in mainstream
memory and the continued mythic potential of the histori-
The first September 11 massacre occurred September 11, cally based fact that emancipation was a consequence of civil
1857, at Mountain Meadows, Utah. The horrendous slaugh- war and social revolution. While not an easy read, Beyond the
ter of 120 innocent men, women, and children remained Battlefield is well worth its price to students of the subject.
the largest organized terrorist act until the 1995 Oklahoma — Dennis E. Showalter
City bombing. Why did Mormon colonists in southern Utah Colorado College
commit such an atrocity against a passing wagon train from
Arkansas? And why did Mormon leadership try to cover it 12-1-0066
up for 150 years? Bagley’s treatment can illuminate for the Flewelling, Stan. Shirakawa: Stories from a Pacific
serious student of multiculturalism recent terrorist acts moti- Northwest Japanese American Community. Seattle:
vated by religious zeal. Univ. of Washington Press, 2002. 250 pp. Preface by Gordon
Bagley masterfully sets the scene by presenting Mormon Hirabayashi. ISBN 0-295-98199-7, $24.95 (pb).
origins and practices. His summary of how this Church/cul-
ture came to be, key beliefs, and reasons for the tensions While the appeal of this book might seem limited, it offers a
between Mormons and the surrounding community where fascinating glimpse into the 60-year history of a farming area.
they had lived are essential in understanding what later Shirakawa, White River, was the name used by Japanese
occurred at Mountain Meadows. Many Latter-Day Saints immigrants arriving at the White River Valley south of
today are not aware of their own cultural history. These days Seattle. This book tells their story, largely through oral his-
the same rift between Mormons and the general society in tories, memoirs, and old photos. Flewelling supplies the his-
which they live simply does not exist. torical background and narrative organization. The stories
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
Bagley seeks to bring closure to the three cultural groups and photos trace the arrival of Japanese workers to the valley
involved in the massacre: Mormons, Native Americans who in the 1880s, the beginnings of their farms and other enter-
assisted in the slaughter, and the Arkansas travelers who prises, the growth of families and their community, their
represented the main group of settlers. The book is not only successes, and the backlash against them. The community
important to Latter-Day Saints seeking to understand their came to an end with the arrests of its leaders immediately
own history, but it is instructive as a comparison to other after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the wartime evacua-
isolated cultures in contact with the world. tion of all Japanese Americans. A brief epilogue explains the
— Frank Alan Bruno demise of the community as many former residents decided
Library, Prairie View A&M Univ. to settle elsewhere after the war, and those who tried to
return met with opposition from former neighbors. Their
12-1-0065 farms, operated by others, did not last long anyway, since
Blight, David W. Beyond the Battlefield: Race, Memory, agriculture has all but disappeared from the valley, suc-
cumbing to encroaching shopping malls, warehouses, and acceptance until his suit finally was dismissed on technical
factories. grounds in 1957. Ward gained a measure of revenge, howev-
This painstakingly researched and documented book should er, when, after obtaining his law degree from Northwestern
be of interest to all students of history. Much credit goes to the University, he joined the legal team that sued the university
author; a dedicated group of volunteers, including those at the to force the admission of Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton
White River Valley Museum; and King County for its financial Holmes. This time federal courts were more willing to rule
support. This book should be a model for other projects to against segregation. On January 11, 1961, Hunter and
preserve vanishing stories. Holmes became the first African Americans to attend classes
— Al Hikida on the Athens campus. That night white students, embold-
Seattle Central Community College ened by inflammatory statements by racist politicians, rioted
12-1-0067 outside Hunter’s dormitory. Threats of violence and social
Henderson, Alexa Benson and Sumler-Edmond, Janice, eds. isolation, however, did not deter the determined duo, who
Freedom’s Odyssey: African American History Essays graduated from the university in 1963.
from Phylon. Atlanta: Clark Atlanta Univ. Press, 2002. 510 In Jim Crow’s Children, Irons traces a century and a half
pp. ISBN 0-9668555-0-7, $37.95. of litigation challenging Jim Crow education. Starting with
the 1849 case of Roberts v. City of Boston and ending with
This compilation of some of the best essays on race and the Supreme Court’s 1995 decision in Missouri v. Jenkins,
racism published between 1940 and 1988 originated in a W. he chronicles the changing legal status of racially separate
E. B. Du Bois initiative on his return to Atlanta University in schools. The main part of his narrative follows the progress
1933, after his tenure with the National Association for the of the five separate suits that were consolidated to form the
Advancement of Colored People as editor of its journal, The Brown case. Irons also describes how the growing national
Crisis. Du Bois’s project as head of the university’s sociology backlash against court-ordered integration and the appoint-
department was titled Phylon: A Review of Race and Culture. ment of conservative justices to the Supreme Court resulted
In addition to being a “tribute to the monumental legacy in the 1974 Milliken v. Bradley decision halting efforts to
of Du Bois,” it is both an excellent “monographic reference desegregate Detroit schools. After Milliken the court steadily
work…as well as a work of contemporary pedagogical sig- retreated from efforts to dismantle segregated school sys-
nificance.” Divided into five chronologically thematic parts, tems. Irons ends his survey by reviewing statistical studies
the book explores the odyssey of African Americans through demonstrating increased racial segregation in the nation’s
topics ranging from the Middle Passage and enslavement schools and wide gaps in academic achievement between
to emancipation, Jim Crow, post-Brown, and the civil rights white and black students. Despite this disappointing data,
strategies of Martin Luther King, Jr. he refuses to call the Brown decision a failure. Rather, he
The editors have selected 29 of the most erudite essays concludes that two decades was too little time to undo the
from among a total of 200 published over the nearly 50 years harm caused by a century of Jim Crow schooling.
of Phylon’s existence. As 29 excellent examples of academic Pratt’s work is narrow in scope and of interest mainly to
scholarship, “the essays collectively provide a broad frame- other historians. Irons’s study is comprehensive in its view,
work for the study of the African American experience, each compelling in its writing, and of considerable relevance to
entry individually chronicles a significant aspect of the racial the ongoing debate about school segregation. Other authors
dilemma in America.” The book is suitable for students at have told parts of this story, most notably Richard Kluger
the high school and college levels as well as the general read- (Simple Justice) and Gary Orfield (Dismantling Desegregation),
ing public. but few have done it as well. If Jim Crow’s Children has a
— A. J. Williams-Myers fault, it is that it offers no remedies for the serious problems
State Univ. of New York, College at New Paltz it documents so fully. Nevertheless, everyone concerned
about the state of education in America should read it.
12-1-0068 — Paul T. Murray
Irons, Peter. Jim Crow’s Children: The Broken Promise Siena College
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
of the Brown Decision. New York: Viking, 2002. 400 pp. 12-1-0069
ISBN 0-670-88918-0, $29.95. Pritchard, Evan T. Native New Yorkers: The Legacy of the
Algonquin People of New York. Tulsa, Okla.: Council Oak
Pratt, Robert A. We Shall Not Be Moved: The Desegregation Books, 2002. 490 pp. ISBN 1-57178-107-2, $29.95.
of the University of Georgia. Athens: Univ. of Georgia
Press, 2002. 205 pp. ISBN 0-8203-2399-3, $29.95. Pritchard provides a detailed account of the customs,
culture, and legacy of the Native American people who lived
We Shall Not Be Moved is a carefully researched account in the Hudson River Valley prior to and during the period of
of the desegregation of the University of Georgia. Pratt European contact.
begins his story in 1950 with Horace T. Ward’s application The author, a professor of Native American history at
to the School of Law. State authorities and school officials Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, makes use of
countered every move by Ward’s attorneys to secure his a variety of sources to trace the legacy of the members of
tcontinued history reviews
the Algonquin tribe who dwelled in the New York City Stearns, Peter N. Cultures in Motion: Mapping Key
and Hudson River Valley. Informative maps complement Contacts and Their Imprints in World History. New
the text. An appendix of Algonquin vocabulary, pertinent Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, 2002. 120 pp. ISBN 0-300-
historical documents, and a time line of Algonquin history 08228-2, $35.00 (cl); 0-300-08229-0, $15.95 (pb).
further enhance the book. While it includes much informa-
tion often ignored by “mainstream” histories, there are also This book describes cultural diffusions/contacts in world
some caveats. The author, a descendant of the Algonquins, history, especially Western, and includes 14 chapters with two
denigrates European culture and accomplishments in the dozen maps, divided into the classical period, the fifth to eigh-
course of presenting the Algonquian legacy. There is also an teenth centuries, and the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
uncomfortable anti-Semitic undertone to the section on the Chapters conclude with a brief list of suggested readings, and
explorers Columbus and Verrazano, along with an implied the book ends with a chapter-by-chapter bibliography. The
Jewish conspiracy theory. maps are in tones of gray and red/pink. The preparation of a
Native New Yorkers, while depicting some fascinating and historical atlas is quite challenging, requiring clear graphics to
ignored information, must be read judiciously. This study convey complex scholarship. This work may not always seem
does fill a void in colonial American period historiography; effective in that regard. The first map, “Bronze Age Trade Routes
however, it is far from being an unbiased approach. Perhaps (c. 1450 BCE),” portrays Phoenicia as primarily a recipient of
the value of the book is that it is bound to stir controversy Egyptian trade. However, during the Late Bronze Age Phoenicia
and dialogue. linked trading networks that included Egypt, Mycenae, Syria-
— Mike Russert Palestine, and Mesopotamia (M. Aubet, The Phoenicians and
Cambridge, N.Y. the West). Without knowing this broad commercial context, it
12-1-0070 becomes hard to grasp the rationale for the cultural diffusion
Schrijvers, Peter. The GI War Against Japan: American of the Phoenician alphabet to the Greeks and Romans.
Soldiers in Asia and the Pacific During World War Another map, “Christianity and the Americas, 1500-1700
II. New York: New York Univ. Press, 2002. 320 pp. ISBN 0- CE,” shows Portuguese missionary areas in Brazil going no
8147-9816-0, $45.00. further south than the headwaters of the Paraná River! In
reality, they advanced along the Atlantic almost to Uruguay
Schrijvers, professor at Geneva’s Graduate Institute of and included the founding of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
International Studies, complements his excellent study of This atlas could be a useful tool in history and cultural stud-
U.S. combat soldiers in Europe during World War II with an ies classes. However, it needs careful supporting explanation
equally perceptive volume focused on the Pacific. Key to the from an instructor.
work is his argument that Americans processed the Pacific — Edward A. Riedinger
in terms of their own far west. They saw the war theater, be Ohio State Univ. Libraries
it Guadalcanal, India, or the Philippines, as a frontier and
responded to it by assuming culturally conditioned roles 12-1-0072
as pioneers, romantics, missionaries, and imperialists. To a Tygiel, Jules. Extra Bases: Reflections on Jackie
significant degree that response reflected the Pacific’s “other- Robinson, Race, and Baseball History. Lincoln: Univ.
ness,” helping men and women to make sense of environ- of Nebraska Press/Bison Books, 2002. 192 pp. ISBN 0-8032-
ments that were in fact completely alien. It also focused an 9447-6, $17.95 (pb).
obsession with controlling and reshaping landscapes and
peoples—and generated increasing frustration when both Tygiel, a professor of history at San Francisco State
refused to respond. University, has assembled several thought-provoking pieces
Schrijvers’s linking of that frustration to the massive about issues behind baseball. His primary focus concerns the
destruction unleashed by American armed forces in the impact of Jackie Robinson on the game. In fact the author
Pacific War is provocative. It downplays the more immediate has made something of a cottage industry of Robinson’s
“frustration” caused by a skilled and determined Japanese story, Extra Bases marking his third book about the player.
enemy whose defeat was the proximate reason for America’s The first section includes essays on Robinson’s signing
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
large-scale Pacific presence. Similarly, Schrijvers’s equating by Branch Rickey, the wily general manager of the Brooklyn
the end of direct European rule after World War II with the Dodgers, and the circumstances surrounding his court-mar-
ultimate defeat of the West in Asia is less self-evident than tial while serving as a lieutenant in the army during World
he believes. These, however, are minor reservations about a War II. The latter story is illuminating, marking Robinson as
provocative book that belongs in all serious collections on a man who would tolerate no disrespect because of his race.
World War II. Part two is a general reflection on racism and sports,
— Dennis E. Showalter including essays on the impact Jim Crow laws played on
Colorado College the stifling segregation of the game. In many communities,
12-1-0071 blacks and whites were not permitted to compete against
each other, a primary reason why Robinson served his minor and liberation. Chapter three is particularly good in dealing
league apprenticeship in Montreal. with the theological, musical, and homiletic elements of this
The final section might be the most interesting, since the spirituality. The last four chapters document the problems
articles touch on areas that have not received as much atten- and possibilities of the black churches in the present.
tion: the impact of television on how the game is perceived Pinn handles the issue of sexism and ministry honestly
by the fans, and a critique on the evolution of the academic and sensitively, but lapses into political correctness when
(as opposed to “popular”) baseball history book. Tygiel is dealing with same-sex marriage and what he calls “heterosex-
one of the premier authors of “serious” baseball writing. ism”—a new sin that consists of awarding a privileged status
— Ron Kaplan to the union of man and woman in marriage. However, the
Montclair, N.J. book remains an excellent summary of the challenges, tasks,
Religion and possibilities that confront the black church today.
— John C. Dwyer
12-1-0073 St. Bernard’s Institite, Albany, N.Y.
De Leon-Hartshorn, Iris; Shearer, Tobin Miller; and Stoltzfus, Education
Regina Shands. Set Free: A Journey Toward Solidarity
Against Racism. Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 2002. 170 pp. 12-1-0075
ISBN 0-8361-9157-9, $14.95 (pb). Hinton, Leanne. How to Keep Your Language Alive: A
Commonsense Approach to One-on-One Language
This is a passionate book that brings together the expe- Learning. Berkeley, Calif.: Heyday Books, 2002. 140 pp.
rience, insights, and programs of a very diverse team: two ISBN 1-890771-42-2, $15.95 (pb).
women (one Native American, one black) and a white man.
The authors have hammered out their understanding of This book is about learning a language without the ben-
racism and its causes in discussions among themselves, but efit of a classroom. Written by a professor of linguistics at
they give us a coherent analysis of the various forms and the University of California, Berkeley, and a cofounder of
dimensions of racism and are particularly good in discussing Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival, How
the destructive consequences of racism on the oppressors as to Keep Your Language Alive is a manual of a method of learn-
well as the oppressed. ing a language through one-on-one language immersion.
The strength of the book is the grounding of its analysis This approach, the “Master-Apprentice Language Learning
and all of its proposals for change in Scripture, and, above Method,” was created for people who may not have access
all, on the Jesus of the Gospels. The authors share a way of to language classes, but do have access to a native speaker.
thinking about the relationship of individual and commu- The framework of this approach is based on a master and
nity that is at the opposite end from American individualism apprentice-partner: the master is the mentor/teacher and
(and which is, I believe, debatable), and this may prevent the apprentice is the student/learner. Examples of what a
it from becoming the powerful catalyst for discussion and typical language-learning session would be like as well as a
action that it deserves to be. But no matter where one stands two-week sample of language sessions, language activities,
on the political spectrum, the book offers both challenges and planning and practice lessons are included.
and hope. It sensitizes the reader to dimensions of racism of Of value is a bibliography of books aimed at learning a
which we are not usually aware, and it does this in a way that language with formal instruction, books on language teach-
transcends the usual categories of liberal and conservative. ing, and information about what other people are doing in
— John C. Dwyer language revitalization.
St. Bernard’s Institute, Albany, N.Y. — Melvina Azar Dame
San Jose, Calif.
Pinn, Anthony B. The Black Church in the Post–Civil 12-1-0076
Rights Era. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2002. 176 pp. Hones, Donald F., ed. American Dreams, Global
ISBN 1-57075-423-3, $20.00 (pb). Visions: Dialogic Teacher Research with Refugee and
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
Immigrant Families. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum,
Although Pinn offers a thumbnail summary of the his- 2002. 194 pp. ISBN 0-8058-3707-8, $59.95 (cl); 0-8058-3708-
tory of black Christianity in the United States from its earli- 6, $19.95 (pb).
est days, he is particularly strong in dealing with the inner
tensions of the black churches in the last 30 years of the These essays capture the voices, the lived realities,
twentieth century. He notes two conflicting tendencies: the of immigrant and refugee families of Hmong, Mexican,
loss of commitment to the social gospel in the seventies, Assyrian, Kurdish, and Kosovar ethnic and cultural back-
which resulted in the alienation of young blacks from a grounds. Preservice and veteran teachers in a Wisconsin
church that did not share their concerns; and on the other Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
hand, in the nineties, the return to the churches of middle- program were given the challenge of engaging in dialogic
class blacks, who were looking for a spirituality based on a research with these families. Dialogic research uses a combi-
deep appropriation of the black experience of oppression nation of ethnographic, participatory, and narrative meth-
t continued education reviews
ods of research. Through this assignment, teachers gained pus.” Her powerful narratives delve into implications of
accurate knowledge of why these families migrated to the diversifying the faculty of higher education. Issues of race,
United States. The families told how U.S. military action and class, and gender are at the core. These nonwhite women
other political conflicts caused famine and disaster in their professors interrogate their classroom experiences in cam-
homelands, often forcing their migration. puses across America that are largely white, to examine the
After dialoguing with these families, teachers/researchers impact of their social positions on their classroom practices
used this book to present their findings. Through poetry and and their teaching/learning selves.
pictures the selected families’ stories were told. The essence This volume tackles the larger question of how social dis-
of this book is to promote broader understanding and social tinctions shape classroom life. It will be a resource for those
justice in schools and communities. This work also hopes concerned with enabling the diversification of the faculty of
to alleviate the challenge of dialogue between teachers and higher education. These narratives share thoughts explain-
those whose cultural backgrounds they seek to understand. ing the slow progress of hiring women faculty of color in
Most importantly, it is designed to bridge school, commu- academe (especially in predominantly white institutions),
nity, and family. This work makes an excellent contribution the struggle for multiculturalism, practicing transformative
to effective multicultural teaching and learning. pedagogy, and the continuing issue of marginality of women
— Linda Rhone faculty of color on predominantly white college and univer-
Wichita, Kan. sity campuses.
12-1-0077 The juxtaposition of these two volumes provides powerful
Nash, Robert J. Religious Pluralism in the Academy: motivation for those of us who are on college and university
Opening the Dialogue. New York: Peter Lang, 2002. 224 campuses to continue the dialogue on religious pluralism
pp. ISBN 0-8204-5592-X, $29.95 (pb). and faculty diversity.
— Anthony Edwards
Vargas, Lucila, ed. Women Faculty of Color in the White Univ. of South Carolina
Classroom. New York: Peter Lang, 2002. 360 pp. ISBN 0-
8204-4994-6, $32.95 (pb). 12-1-0078
Provenzo, Eugene F., Jr., ed. Du Bois on Education.
With the first anniversary of 9/11, issues of diversity and Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002. 344 pp. ISBN 0-
pluralism are at the core of social thought on many college 7591-0199-X, $75.00 (cl); 0-7591-0200-7, $24.95 (pb).
campuses. One such controversy arose at the University of
North Carolina in Chapel Hill where the freshman reading Provenzo brings Du Bois’s educational thought and theoriz-
experience centered on a book about Islam. Nash addresses ing into focus and extends our understanding of his contribu-
this case and points out the paradox of students’ interest in tions to the field of education. He also brings to the attention
meaning-seeking and pluralism’s exclusion of religion from of scholars like myself a neglected but critically important
discussions in higher education. Moreover, during the past aspect of Du Bois’s work. Writings include Du Bois’s reflec-
year, religious hatred and violence have been documented tions on his own educational experience (which shaped his
over and over. Nash’s timely volume attempts to answer the educational views), the relationship between education and
question, “Why do you suppose that so much violence has social power, critiques and studies of elementary and second-
been, and is still being, committed in the name of religion ary education, and his writings on higher education.
throughout the world?” Nash brings together the voices and Provenzo helps to provide a firm foundations on which to
perspectives of higher education faculty, administrators, and build the notion that “Du Bois was one of the most signifi-
students for this critical dialogue. He makes a powerful argu- cant educational thinkers of the twentieth century and that
ment that challenges the academy to return to the liberal arts his many works and educational views have much relevance
heritage of open intellectual dialogue: “American universities to the social, economic, and political realities of contempo-
ought to enlarge their understanding of pluralism to include rary African-American life.”
open, challenging, spiritually and educationally revitalizing Du Bois is mostly remembered for his idea of “the tal-
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
conversations about genuine religious differences.” Colleges ented tenth.” He believed that only a selected few, “not the
and universities throughout America provide the perfect set- majority of men,” were capable of this “higher training.” Du
ting for this dialogue to take place in hopes of coming to a Bois fully understood that education was a two-edged sword
true understanding of religious pluralism. that could be used either to liberate or subjugate specific
Vargas takes diversity of higher education in America to social and cultural groups.
another level. She asks the overarching question, “What is This is a much-needed book in the area of educational
it like for women of color to teach in predominantly white thought. Provenzo argues that Du Bois’s ideas on education
college classrooms?” remain vital and that he represents one of the most important
Vargas addresses “the unique pedagogical challenges and interesting educational thinkers of the twentieth cen-
faced by professors who look, and are, very different from tury.
the typical professor of the predominantly White U.S. cam- — Anthony Edwards
Univ. of South Carolina Written in layman’s prose and not the jargon of econo-
mists, the assessments are easily understood and supported
12-1-0079 by the generous use of clear graphs and tables. An added
TuSmith, Bonnie and Reddy, Maureen T., eds. Race in the feature, which clearly indicates the book’s student audi-
College Classroom: Pedagogy and Politics. Piscataway, ence, is a section of discussion questions at the end of each
N.J.: Rutgers Univ. Press, 2002. 336 pp. ISBN 0-8135-3108-X, chapter. This is an important work that makes a valuable
$60.00 (cl); 0-8135-3109-8, $22.00 (pb). contribution to the Mexican American Experience series of
the University of Arizona Press and should be read by any-
This collection is of particular interest to me as a college one having an interest in the socioeconomic structure of the
instructor who uses race and ethnicity as a framework in United States.
my critical pedagogy. Its premise is to open a conversation — James C. Harrison
about how race structures all classrooms and how college Siena College
instructors can dismantle that structure to make way for a 12-1-0081
new nonracist academic environment. Huerta-Macías, Ana G. Workforce Education for Latinos:
The essays provide personal insights on bringing race into Politics, Programs, and Practices. Westport, Conn.:
the college classroom and the authority of the instructor Greenwood, 2002. 160 pp. ISBN 0-89789-808-7, $54.95.
according to his/her race or ethnicity. Coming from a large
public university in the South, I hear reservations from black Huerta-Macías’s solid text details the sociopolitical con-
students enrolled in African American Studies courses about text of adult education for Latinos today and offers concrete
white faculty not being an authority on the black experience examples of how adult educators and educational programs
in America. These types of conversations must be engaged in can better meet the needs of the diverse Latino students who
order to have open discussions to assist in building a nonra- seek educational development. Her text provides a reflective
cist academic environment. overview of the adult educational models and approaches
Race in the College Classroom continues the open dialogue currently implemented in the United States and suggests
on race and ethnicity with public statements on pedagogy strategies that can enhance the learning experiences of this
and race. It is a clarion call for college instructors to be ever-growing population.
socially committed educators requiring an honest and critical The author stresses the importance of developing cur-
examination of race and ethnicity in their classrooms. This ricula that reflect and relate to the lives of the students.
transformative process is a positive endeavor that dismantles She cautions against limiting the curricula to discrete skills
racist attitudes and provides for a more harmonious existence that the learner is likely to encounter in a particular trade
on college campuses and in American society as a whole. or occupation. She promotes the use of a problem-posing
— Anthony Edwards approach to educating Latino adults, thereby implementing
Univ. of South Carolina a “transformative” approach to learning. Such an approach
truly serves to activate and validate the funds of prior knowl-
Business and Economics edge that adult learners possess.
Huerta-Macías argues that the goal for these students
12-1-0080 should not be simply to obtain employment but rather to
González, Arturo. Mexican Americans and the U.S. facilitate their ability to “advance to better paying positions
Economy: Quest for Buenos Días. Tucson: Univ. of Arizona and eventually to pursue higher education.” Her text serves
Press, 2002. 165 pp. ISBN 0-8165-1977-3, $14.95 (pb). as an effective tool to explore these suggestions.
— Melanie A. Pores
The Mexican-American population in the United States Albany (N.Y.) City School District
is large and significant culturally, socially, and economi-
cally. As of 2000, Mexican Americans constitute 21.7 mil- Social and Political Sciences
lion people scattered across the 50 states but concentrated
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
in California, Texas, and Arizona. González, a research 12-1-0082
economist, examines the economic plight of Mexican Alexander, Yonah, ed. Combating Terrorism: Strategies
Americans as they seek to overcome racial prejudice and of Ten Countries. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press,
injustice. Utilizing the most recent census information, he 2002. 436 pp. Foreword by R. James Woolsey. ISBN 0-472-
focuses on four main topics: immigration, education, wealth 09824-1, $28.95.
and poverty, and the labor market for Mexican Americans.
Evaluation of the statistics leads González to conclude that Alexander is a leading international authority on terror-
all the indicators show an upward progression from one gen- ism from a conservative/realist perspective. In this anthol-
eration to the next. Thus, Buenos Días, the search for better ogy he presents the antiterrorism strategies of 10 govern-
days economically and respect for Mexican Americans as an ments with extensive and varied experience of the subject.
integral part of the community, can be achieved. Such usual suspects as the United States, Britain, and Israel
t continued social & political sciences reviews
are featured, but more exotic venues make an appearance as Campbell, Nedra. More Justice, More Peace: The Black
well: Argentina, well described by journalist Roger Fontaine, Person’s Guide to the American Legal System. Chicago:
Colombia, India, Japan. The contributors, while drawn pri- Lawrence Hill, 2002. 256 pp. ISBN 1-55652-468-2, $14.95.
marily from the international academic community, take a
robust approach to the subject and offer a balanced set of In this primer to the American legal system, the author
common-sense recommendations. presumes that African Americans need to be informed about
Successful antiterrorist strategies are usually linked the internal mechanisms of the justice system. She also
to maintaining—and even extending—human rights. feels that due to the historical impact of slavery, landmark
Comprehensive cooperation, including systematic exchanges Supreme Court decisions, the Constitution, and Jim Crow,
of information, among civil and military agencies is vital. we are dealing with a system that is not only flawed, but
So is proper counter-terrorist training of security forces. biased in favor of the majority persons who have authored
Negotiation, while its record is mixed, should not be excluded the laws over the years.
a priori. Above all, governments and politicians must be will- The text aims to empower African Americans in a myriad
ing to learn from mistakes: their own and others’. Alexander’s of situations. Demystifying the judicial and court processes
concluding warnings, that terrorist restraint of violence is is an important aspect that is reviewed. Information about
more a matter of tactics than principle and that vulnerable, voting rights, family law, landlord and tenant disputes, con-
complex modern societies are better able to prevent terrorist sumer protection, and entrepreneurship are also discussed in
attacks than withstand them, may not sit well with many lay terms.
readers. Yet these warnings cannot be dismissed or ignored. More Justice, More Peace is supplemented with extensive
— Dennis E. Showalter appendices and resources. Sample legal letters of inquiry,
Colorado College a directory of agencies, a list of Internet resources, and a
glossary of legal terms are also included. Recommended for
12-1-0083 public libraries.
Bellos, Alex. Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life. New — Anthony Todman
York: Bloomsbury, 2002. 407 pp. ISBN 1-58234-250-4, St. John’s Univ. Library
This is one of the most thorough studies of Brazilian soc- Chen, Shehong. Being Chinese, Becoming Chinese
cer ever to appear in English. The warm enthusiasm of Bellos American. Champaign: Univ. of Illinois Press, 2002. 242
for “futebol” and Brazil is coolly communicated through pp. ISBN 0-252-02736-1, $39.95.
his journalistic expertise. The author serves as the foreign
correspondent in Rio de Janeiro for two leading British Qian Ning. Chinese Students Encounter America.
newspapers. The book’s text is supported by extensive color Seattle: Univ. of Washington Press, 2002. 296 pp. Trans.
and black-and-white photographs and maps. Like any news- from Chinese by T. K. Chu. ISBN 0-295-98180-6, $35.00.
paperman, Bellos relies heavily on interviews, not just with
players, coaches, and fans but also with politicians, artists, In searching for ways to make China strong, generations
and even social scientists. of Chinese intellectuals went abroad to study, primarily
He studies the historical development of the Brazilian to the United States. The opening of China to the West
game from its British origins in 1894. It began as a sport also witnessed waves of Chinese farmers from the coastal
of white elites and progressively expanded to include the areas emigrating to seek a better living. These early Chinese
middle and working classes, and players of mixed race and immigrants formed the core elements of the American
African descent. The highlights of this history are the qua- Chinatowns, or other Chinese communities, which grew
drennial World Cup matches. Since the beginning of the with the arrival of their relatives, other immigrants, and
World Cup in 1930, Brazil has won more (five) than any Chinese students.
other country. The other highlights of the work are the stars Being Chinese, Becoming Chinese American investigates how
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
who swayed these matches, such as Garrincha, Pelé, and Chinese immigrants transformed themselves into Chinese
Ronaldo. Bellos describes and explains the unique style of Americans between 1911 and 1927. The Chinese immigrants
Brazilian soccer, its hallmark of freewheeling yet rhythmic took a unique view toward traditional Chinese values and
play. He also analyzes the contemporary administrative and expressed their vision of what a modern China should be. At
financial structure of the “industry,” dissecting its recent the same time the nationalist feelings emboldened them to
wave of corruption scandals. The timing for the appearance stand up for their right to be regarded as an integral part of
of this book is right in the net. the American society. Thence emerged a Chinese-American
— Edward A. Riedinger identity. The author’s analysis reveals four essential elements
Ohio State Univ. Libraries of the Chinese-American identity during the period: support
for republicanism over the restoration of monarchy; a wish
12-1-0084 to preserve Confucianism and traditional Chinese culture
although both were under attack in China; support for therefore, is its rich distillation of Dorfman’s close memories
Christianity in spite of its unpopularity among the Chinese of the events of a quarter century. The memoirs advance in
at home; and opposition to the Nationalist Party’s alliance tides of suspense, recounting tensely awaited judicial deci-
with the Soviet Union and cooperation with the Chinese sions, political deliberations, and medical opinions.
Communist Party. Chen documents the building of per- But the aged Pinochet has escaped justice. Protected for
manent Chinese-American communities and Chinatowns reasons of health, he lingers on, free of judicial scrutiny. He
based on the information she collected from three major will not confront a sentence proper to his offenses, only the
Chinese language newspapers of the time. mortality common to all. Ultimately these memoirs leave no
Chinese Students Encounter America focuses on the Chinese suspense, only a bitter perception of an anticlimactic injus-
students who came to study at U.S. higher education institu- tice imbedded in Chile and Dorfman’s history.
tions after 1978. After tracing briefly the history of Chinese — Edward A. Riedinger
students in America from Yung Wing, who graduated from Ohio State Univ. Libraries
Yale in 1854, to the post–Cultural Revolution generation, 12-1-0087
the author presents episodes of the life stories of Chinese Erikson, Patricia Pierce, with Helma Ward and Kirk
students through personal interviews. Qian touches on a Wachendorf. Voices of a Thousand People: The Makah
variety of topics: culture shock, academic activities, survival Cultural and Research Center. Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska
struggles, and marital crisis. These personal stories suggest Press, 2002. 264 pp. ISBN 0-8032-1824-9, $45.00.
the legacy of decades of social and political turbulence in
China, further complicated by the adjustment to America’s Haycox, Stephen. Alaska, an American Colony. Seattle:
dazzling material abundance and personal freedom but Univ. of Washington Press, 2002. 392 pp. ISBN 0-295-98249-
totally different value system and standards. While provid- 7, $29.95.
ing a reasonably critical description of the personalities of
individual Chinese students who had either succeeded in To understand the mechanisms of colonization and
fitting into the American society or failed in their own ways, decolonization requires case studies that have historical
the book discusses the basis of Chinese views toward the depth and contemporary breadth. Colonization and decolo-
West, and portrays the United States as a country with many nization are mirror processes by which oppressive forces
niceties as well as flaws. To a certain extent, the book allows impose their ideologies or are deposed and resisted. Both
American readers to examine their own country through Haycox and Erikson use institutional lenses to focus on the
Chinese experiences and perspectives. ideological processes that shackle or free peoples.
— Suping Lu Against the backdrop of Native prehistory and culture,
Univ. of Nebraska–Lincoln geography, and environmental history, Haycox traces the
development of Alaska as a political economy from the fur
12-1-0086 trade of the Russian America Company (RAC) through its
Dorfman, Ariel. Exorcising Terror: The Incredible acquisition by the United States, Native land settlement, and
Unending Trial of General Augusto Pinochet. New contemporary resource-exporting state. He demonstrates
York: Seven Stories, 2002. 224 pp. ISBN 1-58322-542-0, that even in statehood the colonial legacy continues to bur-
$11.95 (pb). den a people who lack the sociopolitical reflexivity to make
realistic choices about their self-interests. Bringing the reali-
This book has two beginnings and awaits an ending. The ties of a colonial history to the consciousness of Alaskans
noted Chilean author recalls in the opening how he first seems to be Haycox’s quest. His less-than-romantic account
heard in October 1998 that General Pinochet, the bloodiest of Alaska paints a stark picture of the socioeconomic realities
overseer of state terrorism in Chile’s history, was under arrest against a global background. If Alaskans don’t understand
in London. Dorfman then reflects back to how the Pinochet the economic forces that shape their colonial history and
dictatorship began on September 11, 1973. current institutions, how can the mystification under which
The author had then been an adviser for the chief of staff the state labors change?
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
of the Marxist president of Chile, Dr. Salvador Allende. As Erikson, on the other hand, bears witness to the Makah’s
would another day of terror on a September 11, the Pinochet use of the concept of “museum” as a site of decolonization.
coup climaxed with an assault from the sky. The Chilean air The Makah saw the potential of the museum as a vehicle by
force, using American aircraft, bombed the presidential pal- which to further their own agenda of cultural, political, eco-
ace. In those ruins Allende died. (The overthrow was heartily nomic, and social revitalization. They came face-to-face with
encouraged by U.S. President Richard Nixon and Secretary of their history at the Ozette archeological dig. The artifacts of
State Henry Kissinger.) their ancestors were of interest to scholars and governments,
A well-placed collaborator of the Allende government, thus investing power and legitimacy in the contested site.
Dorfman escaped into exile, where he relentlessly led inter- This was the energy the Makah tapped into to fuel their revi-
national opposition to Pinochet. The singularity of this work, talization. With that reclamation, they had a clear history on
t continued social & political sciences reviews
which to look back to and build on with language, art, social growth, goals, and impact does not sufficiently stress the
roles, education, economic development, whaling, and so differences. Moreover, the book does not fully discuss the
on. They are a people that know how to transform histories awesome power that some nations can still use to oppose the
into presents. best intentions and actions of international organizations.
The Alaskans that Haycox is trying to enlighten look Finally, intergovernmental organizations may at times have
back for the most part and see their histories in the southern an adversarial relationship with each other.
48. Their institutions, their constitution, their melting pot — Salvatore Lombardo
are goals to strive for rather than recognized as colonizing Siena College
forces. Their vision is skewed. They identify with the colo- 12-1-0089
nizers. They are thus misled, remaining disadvantaged in a McCaffrey, Katherine T. Military Power and Popular
resource-rich state. They believe the American myth as evi- Protest: The U.S. Navy in Vieques, Puerto Rico.
denced by the trappings of popular and commercial culture Piscataway, N.J.: Rutgers Univ. Press, 2002. 219 pp. ISBN 0-
all around them. 8135-3090-3, $60.00 (cl); 0-8135-3091-1, $22.00 (pb).
A wise Nuu-chah-nulth chief observed that “Institutions
must serve people, and not the other way around.” Haycox Vieques, a 51-square-mile island six miles off the coast of
asks for this type of understanding, an understanding that Puerto Rico and part of the Roosevelt Roads naval complex,
the Makah demonstrate in their reclamations. has become a lightning rod for U.S. relations with Puerto
These books point to the need for understanding the Rico within the last few years. Used as an ammunition depot
reclamation of history by peoples as a means to a more self- and bombing range, the island is dominated by the navy,
directed present and self-determined future. Haycox main- which controls about 23,000 acres, making it physically the
tains that a better sense of history can help contemporary largest military installation in the world. Taking both ends
Alaskans make more informed political choices; Erickson of the island, the navy has squeezed the impoverished civil-
reports that when a people understand their own history ian population into the center. Promises to improve the lives
they can indeed develop their own agenda. of the residents and growing concerns over the health conse-
— Marlene Atleo (Nuu-chah-nulth) quences of the agent used in the bombs have gone ignored.
Nanaimo, B.C. Then, in April 1999, a navy jet inadvertently dropped its
bombs on an observation post, killing a civilian employee.
12-1-0088 The death awoke the smoldering discontent into vocifer-
Iriye, Akira. Global Community: The Role of ous protests and confrontations that eventually resulted in
International Organizations in the Making of the President Clinton calling a temporary halt to the bombing.
Contemporary World. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, McCaffrey, of Montclair State University, has provided
2002. 255 pp. ISBN 0-520-23127-9, $29.95. an excellent overview of the problem on Vieques. Especially
important are the chapters on the relationship between the
Are international affairs the result of the interplay of residents and the military, the development of grassroots
nations that try to advance their interests? Iriye considers mobilization, the Fisherman’s War, and the events since
this definition limited because it ignores the important role 1999. This is a worthwhile book that sheds light on U.S. mili-
played by intergovernmental and nongovernmental organi- tarism and modern colonialism. It is highly recommended.
zations in the international arena. — James C. Harrison
The author, a historian, discusses the development, activ- Siena College
ities, and impact on world affairs of organizations that have
focused on humanitarian relief, cultural exchange, peace 12-1-0090
and disarmament, developmental assistance, human rights, Pelly, David F. Sacred Hunt: A Portrait of the Relationship
and environmentalism. Because of the important role they between Seals and Inuit. Seattle: Univ. of Washington
have played in the international arena, and because they Press, 2002. 144 pp. Illus. ISBN 0-295-98164-4, $27.50.
play an even more essential role in the age of globalization,
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
they deserve close attention. Pelly unrolls a wonderful cultural tapestry woven with
This is an important book that is bound to change the the indigenous principles of reverence, respect, relations,
perspective of those who have a traditional view of interna- and responsibility. Through myths, legends, rituals, and tra-
tional affairs. In fact, the author argues that international ditions, he reveals the construction of the world of the Inuit
organizations have the potential to form a “human commu- and the Arctic seal. He shows the depth and breadth of their
nity…sharing the same concerns and seeking to solve them relations, the physicality and spirituality shared by the hunt-
through cooperative endeavors.” However, while the author ers and the seals. Pelly has created a likeness of the dance of
clearly defines both intergovernmental and nongovern- life and death that has been the survival story of both the
mental international organizations, the discussion of their hunter and his “guest” through which the Inuit cultures
were created and sustained. The portrait, austere and mov- ingly visible, visionary, and robust queer Jewish culture.
ing, is simultaneously simple and complex. The very breath Essayists include scholars and writers of various back-
of life marks the beginning and end of life. The relationship grounds, genders, and sexual identities, whose entries probe
between them is different from the Western concept of the the existing challenges and successes of negotiating the space
hunter and his victim/quarry/prey. The visuals—etchings, between religious/cultural Jewish observance and sexuality
carvings, paintings—and words, photos, and stories show us within the queer Jewish community. Judaism is arguably the
how these truly belong to each other, each embodying the most welcoming to gays/lesbians of all major religions; yet,
other. while queer Jews are successfully adapting to and influenc-
Pelly brings the spirit of the relationship into the fore- ing the shape of Jewish institutions, there are tensions. As
ground. The sacred, respectful dance of life is demonstrated the editors point out, Jewish tradition admonishes Jewish
on these pages with insight and reverence. Pelly has faithfully people to be a “light unto nations.” This historical impera-
conveyed a sense of the sacredness of this relationship from tive and moral responsibility logically positions queer Jews
the perspective of Inuit hunters and possibly from the seals as agents for change.
as well. Readers will recognize “A-list” contributors such as Leslea
— Marlene Atleo (Nuu-chah-nulth) Newman, Jonathan Krasner, Avi Rose, Christie Balka, Joan
Nanaimo, B.C. Nestle, Sandi Simcha Dubowski, as well as the lesser known.
12-1-0091 Queer Jews have taken up the charge to influence institu-
Sawhney, Deepak Narang, ed. Unmasking L.A.: Third tionalized perspectives to acknowledge and accept what the
Worlds and the City. New York: St. Martin’s/Palgrave, diverse queer Jewish experience has to offer the status quo.
2002. 266 pp. ISBN 0-312-24049-X, $59.95 (cl); 0-312-29289- Accessible, intellectual, and socially perceptive, Queer Jews is
9, $24.95 (pb). recommended for both academic and large public libraries.
— Elsa A. Bruguier
If you are looking for an odd collection of poems, essays, Union County (N.J.) College Library
and photographs about Los Angeles and the concept of “Third
Worlds,” this book is for you. However, I found this work to 12-1-0093
be an overly ideological and narcissistic exercise in intellec- Suárez-Orozco, Marcelo M. and Paez, Mariela, eds. Latinos:
tual self-indulgence that illuminates little about the history Remaking America. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press,
and societal issues of past or contemporary Los Angeles. The 2002. 494 pp. ISBN 0-520-23486-3, $55.00 (cl); 0-520-23487-1,
editor has written an introductory essay and has authored $19.95 (pb).
or coauthored several of the entries. Unfortunately, the first
essay fails to explain the purpose of the book. This excellent collection of essays is a must for anyone
Of the 15 chapters in this volume, I would recommend interested in the impact of immigration from Latin America
four as worth the time to evaluate the ideas expressed by the on American society, especially in the last 40 years. The
authors. Joseph Nevins, “Third World and ‘Illegal,’” provides accounts of different Latino groups and different aspects of
an intriguing look at the issue of illegal immigration from a the Latino experience in the United States are introduced by
leftist perspective, as does Paul Von Blum’s essay on “resis- a carefully nuanced opening essay explaining the research
tance art.” Morrow Mayo writes an odd little piece on the agenda and reasons for the individual selections.
birth of Los Angeles, and the editor does a better job of sum- Part I deals with histories, migrations, and communities and
marizing some of the issues his collection raises in “Forces provides the background of the Latino communities. Some are
of Nature.” Readers interested in the editor’s ideological comparative, like Juan Flores’s article on Caribbean Latinos,
perspective or those obsessed with Los Angeles may find this which looks at Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and Dominicans.
collection of value, but for everyone else it is a boring waste Others focus on one major community, such as Alex and
of time. Carol Dutton Stepick’s splendid overview of the experiences
— Harvey J. Strum of Miami’s Cubans. My one criticism is that they have under-
The Sage Colleges, Albany, N.Y. estimated the role of the Cubans in the national political
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
discourse, especially under Republican administrations. Also, I
12-1-0092 think that Patricia Gandara could have been more detailed on
Shneer, David and Aviv, Caryn, eds. Queer Jews. New York: the debate over education and bilingualism and placed it into
Routledge, 2002. 288 pp. ISBN 0-415-93167-3, $19.95 (pb). the historical context. The best essay is the groundbreaking
research of John Trumpbour and Elaine Bernard on unions
Queer Jews shines a light on lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans- and Latinos, a neglected area of labor history.
gender Jewish thinking, and points a beacon in the direction I would urge all academic libraries and all public libraries
it’s headed. This exploration of the bliss and struggles of with an interest in ethnicity or immigration to purchase this
being Jewish and “queer,” an umbrella term to include the collection. This book is yet another affirmation of the contri-
expanding spectrum of sexual identity, highlights an increas- butions of Suárez-Orozco to immigration and Latino studies.
t continued social & political sciences reviews
— Harvey J. Strum out the competing and conflicting nature of the Red Cross
The Sage Colleges, Albany, N.Y. principles for providing humanitarian aid: the humanitarian
12-1-0094 imperative, neutrality, impartiality, and independence.
Swain, Carol M. The New White Nationalism in America: Terry calls for an ethical imperative for providing humani-
Its Challenge to Integration. New York: Cambridge Univ. tarian aid and for the UN and nongovernmental aid organi-
Press, 2002. 526 pp. ISBN 0-521-80886-3, $30.00. zations (NGOs) to be prepared to deny aid during a conflict
when it can do more harm than good. However, she also
Swain predicts major conflicts over race and ethnicity, acknowledges and discusses the reasons why NGOs do not
with a focus on the former. Her study of modern white learn from past experiences. This book raises difficult ques-
nationalist groups suggests that two factors signal increasing tions that need to be addressed in our civil-conflict-ridden
potential for major racial clashes. First, there is increasing era.
malaise over the impending demographic change in the — Jean M. Stern
United States, from a white majority to a white minority, Siena College
along with increasing opposition to racially based affirmative
action programs. These factors, plus others, are coupled with 12-1-0096
the change in white nationalist movements from dogmatic Welch, Michael. Detained: Immigration Laws and the
and violent organizations appealing to lower-class whites to Expanding I.N.S. Jail Complex. Philadelphia: Temple
educated, articulate groups and leaders with increasing skills Univ. Press, 2002. 272 pp. ISBN 1-56639-977-7, $59.50 (cl);
in using the modern technology of the Internet to recruit 1-56639-978-5, $18.95 (pb).
college-educated followers and to develop a broader-based Welch offers a different view on immigration. Instead of
constituency. focusing on pros and cons of the immigration debate, the
Using survey data and interviews as well as a rich com- author analyzes actions taken by the INS when it puts immi-
bination of other materials, Swain convincingly presents gration laws into practice, a practice that seems unbelievably
evidence that liberal approaches, with their ham-handed harsh to immigrants, whether legal or illegal, and their fami-
reliance on governmental regulation, have ignored the com- lies.
plexity of American thought on various unresolved issues Welch uses experiences of immigrants to show how the
of race. For example, while educational organizations and INS works by focusing on the changes made to the immigra-
government continue to rely on, or at least advocate, racial tion law in 1996. The stories are examples from different
quotas for college admission, they ignore the opposition of parts of the law and how the INS interprets them. Welch
the American public to such quotas. Swain points out that makes one think about human rights (do they apply to
Americans, while opposing racially based standards, nev- immigrants?) and democracy. It seems that for politicians
ertheless are quite willing to expand admission criteria to and the INS, detention is the only answer to many immigra-
include applicant backgrounds, struggles, and exceptional tion problems. How did the INS get there? Welch’s answer
contributions. Her recommendations are many, including is “moral panic,” his interesting theoretical approach to the
the need for reasoned public dialogue. mistrust immigrants face. But most importantly, the book
— Carol Ann Traut offers insights about the changes in the immigration discus-
Univ. of Texas, Permian Basin sion since September 11. I consider this book a significant
contribution to the literature. It will be a valuable tool for
12-1-0095 discussions in graduate courses, specifically in political sci-
Terry, Fiona. Condemned to Repeat? The Paradox of ence, sociology, and criminal justice.
Humanitarian Action. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Press, — Astrid Eich-Krohm
2002. 282 pp. ISBN 0-8014-3960-4, $42.50 (cl); 0-8014-8796-X, State Univ. of New York at Albany
From an insider’s vantage point, Terry examines the
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
unintended negative consequences of providing humani- 12-1-0097
tarian assistance to the victims in internal conflicts. Terry, Beardwood, Mary. The Children’s Encyclopedia of Arabia.
the director of research for Médecins sans Frontières, uses Northampton, Mass.: Interlink/Stacey International, 2002.
four well-documented case studies: Afghan refugee camps 152 pp. Illus. ISBN 1-900988-33-X, $29.95.
in Pakistan, Nicaraguan and Salvadoran refugee camps in
Honduras, Cambodian refugee camps in Thailand, and An impressive quality of this book is the large array of facts,
Rwandan refugee camps in Congo. She shows how the pro- both verbal and visual, contained on every page—yet without
vision of aid may actually prolong the conflict by providing the appearance of clutter or confusion. The design allows the
financial resources to the parties and may endanger refugees reader to focus on one item at a time while taking in a wealth
whose camps become havens for combatants and/or human of information, colorfully and attractively displayed.
resources for the forced recruitment of soldiers. She points The first part of the book focuses on the past—archaeol-
ogy, incense routes, days of sail and spice trade—and then Johnson provides in-depth information on the lives
aspects of traditional life, such as the pearl industry, Bedouin of over 100 American Indians who have made significant
customs, and camel racing. A large section describing the contributions to American Indian spiritual life. Descriptive
flora and fauna of the Arabian Peninsula will fascinate young narratives with up-to-date information and research on a
naturalists. The outstanding fact of modern Arabia—the oil diverse range of contemporary and historical figures detail
industry—is treated in a brief conclusion. What some readers each individual’s early years, education, career highlights,
might wish to see more of is human activity, especially female; contributions, and impact on Native society.
yet this relative absence reflects a society (specifically Saudi The subjects, including well-known Native leaders like
Arabia) where women, regardless of education and accom- Geronimo, Black Elk, Sitting Bull, Quanah Parker, and
plishment, are still kept from public view. Wavoka, are intriguing and spur the reader to examine the
The work of an English author with many years’ experience broad continuum of American Indian spiritual history. The
in the Arabian Peninsula, the encyclopedia makes a valuable earliest individual represented is from the mid-fourteenth
addition to libraries’ geographical collections and offers plea- century, and the most recent is from the 1930s. The two- to
surable casual reading for all ages. three-page narratives include a description of the subject’s
— Elsa Marston life and leadership, plus suggested readings and electronic
Bloomington, Ind. source listings. The appendixes list the individuals by birth
date and by tribal affiliation. This book is recommended as
12-1-0098 a good source for researching specific Native American spiri-
Fernekes, William R., ed. The Oryx Holocaust Sourcebook. tual leaders or healers.
Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 2002. 408 pp. ISBN 1-53756- — Maggie Necefer (Diné)
295-5, $55.95. Diné College
This volume is a comprehensive (over 1,500 entries), Kapiszewski, Diana, ed. The Encyclopedia of Latin
timely, very well organized, and copiously annotated American Politics. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 2002.
research and teaching reference tool. It includes general 384 pp. ISBN 1-53756-306-4, $74.95.
print resources (encyclopedias, bibliographies, atlases, nar-
rative histories, drama, fiction, poetry, books for children, This work covers politics in Latin America and the Caribbean
periodicals), primary sources (collections and anthologies of for the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The last part of the
documents, first-person accounts, and biographies), general latter century receives the bulk of coverage, and within this
electronic resources (databases, World Wide Web sites, elec- period the focus is primarily on the most prominent holders of
tronic resources, CD-ROMs, vendors), audiovisual resources executive positions, political parties (listed in English followed
(photographs, films, videotapes, audiobooks, music, art col- by vernacular and acronym), and sociopolitical phenomena.
lections), educational and teaching materials, and U.S. and The book’s sections are organized in alphabetical order by
international institutions and organizations concerned with country, with an average of 12 to 20 pages devoted to each
the Holocaust. nation. Entries begin with a summary of CIA World Factbook
Given the book’s scope and undeniable value, it is regret- data: official name of the country, constitutional organization,
table and surprising to note the following omissions. These geography, population, and various statistics. There follows
include the Holocaust experience in several European coun- a summary of the country’s history, accompanied by a map.
tries, such as Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, and Serbia, Each section concludes with a list of heads of state since inde-
as well as in the African countries of Algeria, Morocco, pendence, indicating years in office; an unannotated bibliog-
and Tunisia. In the encyclopedia section, Encyclopedia of raphy; and descriptions of Internet resources.
Holocaust Literature, a book put out by Oryx Press in 2002 The closing part of the book includes two appendices. The
shortly before the publication of the volume under review, is first offers five pages of one-paragraph entries on multilateral
not included. In the “Country Listings of Holocaust Related agreements, groupings, organizations, and wars; the second is
Organizations,” several current Jewish community organiza- on U.S. policies and organizations for Latin America. The vol-
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
tions in Romania, Moldova, Morocco, and Tunisia with well- ume was organized at the Center for Latin American Studies
known addresses are missing. In addition, there are spelling at Georgetown University. Most of the contributors are not
errors in the index and other sections. well-known scholars but have an affiliation with Georgetown
— Vladimir F. Wertsman or other institutions in the D.C. area. This reference book will
New York, N.Y. primarily be of use in public and college libraries.
12-1-0099 — Edward A. Riedinger
Johnson, Troy R. Distinguished Native American Ohio State Univ. Libraries
Healers and Spiritual Practitioners. Westport, Conn.:
Greenwood, 2002. 304 pp. ISBN 1-57356-358-7, $69.95. 12-1-0101
Klein, Martin A. Historical Dictionary of Slavery and
t continued reference reviews
Abolition. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2002. 350 pp. a chronological list of independence declarations and both
ISBN 0-8108-4102-9, $55.00. a geographical and an organizational listing of stateless
groups. A useful index facilitates easy access to the contents
This book is part of a series entitled “Historical Dictionaries of the four volumes. The editor must be commended for
of Religions, Philosophies, and Movements.” The author has compiling this unique reference work, which provides so
previously written extensively about slavery, abolition, and much hard-to-find and little known information on this
Africa in addition to holding numerous collegiate faculty topic.
positions. This unique and in-depth background gives the — Donald Altschiller
volume a clarity and consistency rarely found in a small Boston Univ.
The text includes a chronology of the subject matter, 12-1-0103
ranging from 3200 B.C. until the early 1990s. Following the Nelson, Emmanuel S. African American Autobiographers:
chronology is an extensive introductory essay. The main A Sourcebook. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 2002. 432 pp.
section of the text consists of short alphabetically arranged ISBN 0-313-31409-8, $94.95.
entries that cover a myriad of topics pertaining to historical
and world events. Entries include ancient Roman slavery, The 67 individuals covered in this bio-bibliography range
the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Sahara. from the famous (Maya Angelou) to the obscure (Nancy
The institution of slavery has affected the world for cen- Gardner Prince), from the prolific (Richard Wright) to the
turies. It is deep-rooted and has influenced economics, labor, authors of a single work (Mary Seacole). In every case the
religion, and politics. Unfortunately, the injustices of slavery African-American subjects wrote or dictated an autobiogra-
still exist in our contemporary world. This makes this text phy.
relevant and timely. Recommended for college libraries. Each article begins with a biography section that briefly
— Anthony Todman outlines the person’s life, followed by an “autobiographi-
St. John’s Univ. (N.Y.) Libraries cal works and themes” section that critically addresses the
12-1-0102 subject’s autobiographical writings only. The critical reception
Minahan, James. Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations. of the individual’s writings over time is summarized, and the
Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 2002. 4 vols., 2,000 pp. ISBN sketches end with a two-part bibliography listing the subject’s
0-313-31617-1, $475.00. autobiographical writings followed by a list of critical studies.
Nelson’s brief introduction states that his objective is to
With the Arab-Israeli conflict dominating the news, one provide an “introduction to the autobiographical tradition
could easily assume that it is one of the few world conflicts in African American writing” from the earliest up to the
involving a struggle for political statehood. Yet there are 1990s. His “purpose is to provide reliable, thorough and
literally hundreds of self-defined ethnic groups striving for up-to-date” information for each of the subjects. To a great
national sovereignty. Some of these conflicts are violent and extent he has succeeded, although some of the pieces are
receive some press coverage—the Kashmiris and the Basques, not as well written as could be hoped. The contributors are
for example—but the aspirations and struggles of the vast mostly professors and graduate students.
majority of groups, ranging from Sahrawis in northwest A chronological arrangement (or at least an appendix
Africa to Arabistanis in Iran, are generally unknown. listing) would have been better than the strict alphabetical
In this updated and greatly expanded sequel to his arrangement used.
1996 work, Nations Without States: A Historical Dictionary of — Sean P. Maloney
Contemporary National Movements, the editor has compiled a Siena College
work on more than 350 national groups wanting political
independence. Three criteria are used for inclusion: self-iden- 12-1-0104
tity as a distinctive group; the use of outward symbols, such Rappaport, Helen. Encyclopedia of Women Social
as flags; and nationalist political organizations that espouse Reformers. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. 2002. 2 vols.,
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
self-determination. In restricting the entries to groups meet- 888 pp. ISBN 1-57607-101-4, $185.00.
ing all three criteria, the editor notes that he has included
only a small fraction of the estimated 9,000 stateless peoples This new reference book will fill a long-felt gap in
throughout the world. Arranged alphabetically by group, biography collections by providing timely and pertinent
each entry includes a population estimate (unfortunately, information on women reformers around the world. The
some are wildly inflated, such as the Palestinian Arabs), a author’s effort to include women from as many cultures and
survey of the geographical homeland, a national history, countries as possible will enable students to find material on
and an illustration and description of the flag. Especially subjects that were formerly inaccessible.
useful is a select bibliography at the end of each section. The Rappaport deliberately chose to omit some English and
book concludes with some excellent appendices, including American women who can be found in other sources in
order to provide material on women about whom informa- religion relationships in the world today. Iran is presented as
tion is scarce. She has focused on the period from the French the model theocratic state, with government almost totally
Revolution to the mid-1970s, with a few more recent figures, subservient to the religious authorities. China is posited as the
such as Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, whose story is still state where religion is completely controlled by the organs of
being played out. the government. The United States is cited as a country that
Lists of reformers by country and by cause precede the has a blend somewhere between these two extremes.
biographies and will help to link biographees who were There is a chronology dating from 1750 B.C. up through
involved in specific causes, such as antislavery or women’s 2001. A section of biographical sketches intended as a “rep-
suffrage. Each biographical sketch is followed by a bibliog- resentative sample” covers foreign and domestic religious
raphy, which will prove helpful to students seeking further figures, from Desmond Tutu and Mother Teresa to Sun
information about the subjects. Myung Moon and Osama bin Laden, whose face graces the
Biographical entries are well written, crisp, and concise cover. An almost worthless section of statistics (3 tables) and
but long enough to be read for enjoyment. This excellent quotations is followed by a more useful list of organizations.
source belongs in every library specializing in social history There is an extensive annotated list of print and audiovisual
or women’s studies. resources that is quite up-to-date. It closes with a very brief
— Miriam Sawyer list of Internet sites and a glossary.
Rutherford (N.J.) Public Library Despite its useful aspects, this work tries to cover too
12-1-0105 much ground and would have been better had it concen-
Stevens, Payson R.; Levine, Charles M.; and Steinmetz, Sol. trated on only one or two types of these entries.
Meshuggenary: Celebrating the World of Yiddish. New — Sean P. Maloney
York: Simon & Schuster, 2002. 224 pp. ISBN 0-7432-2742-5, Siena College
I loved the idea of this book, which is to celebrate all that Watkins, Mel, ed. African American Humor: The Best
is Yiddish: the language, people, culture, and humor. It adds Black Comedy from Slavery to Today. Chicago: Lawrence
to Leo Rosten’s classics yet brings Yiddish into the new mil- Hill, 2002. 374 pp. ISBN 1-55652-431-5, $18.95 (pb).
lennium by adding google.com’s top Yiddish words. Tracing the history of African-American comedy from
The chapters include Yiddish-English for Everyone; S- slavery to the present, Watkins’s collection of anecdotes,
words: Put-downs without Peer; Yiddish Humor; The Heart folktales, stand-up bits, tales, poems, and snaps splits into
of Yiddish Vocabulary; Yiddish Literature: Proverbs and four sections: slavery, emancipation to the Roaring Twenties,
Sayings; Expressions; Food and Cooking; and The Story of the Harlem Renaissance to the Fifties, and Civil Rights to
Yiddish Theater and Music. the present. The literary names such as Hurston and Hughes
I smiled to myself as I read Yiddish terms and expres- should be familiar to all, but older readers will enjoy reread-
sions I hadn’t heard in 30 years: Curses and sayings my ing Moms Mabley, Mantan Moreland, and their contempo-
grandmother used when she didn’t want her grandchildren raries. The younger generation is rather underrepresented.
to understand; wickedly funny expressions and terms that Bernie Mac, Steve Harvey, and Chris Rock are featured, but
make Yiddish so appealing and powerful. Martin Lawrence, Whoopi Goldberg, Marsha Warfield, and
The chapter on Yiddish Literature was excellent, and the others are missing.
one on Yiddish Food and Cooking covered all my favorites, Entries are less than a page long, and librarians should
so how much more can I ask of any book? The only disap- be aware that the language and content may not always
pointing chapter was the one on humor, which I found a be appropriate for younger or more sensitive readers. As
little tired and goyish. Watkins’s commentary is minimal, most readers will sim-
Anyone who loves Yiddish will love this book. I plan to ply enjoy the humor collected herein. A good complement
keep my copy next to Rosten. In fact, when I need to look to Watkins’s On the Real Side: A History of African American
up a Yiddish expression, I will first try Meshuggenary. Comedy (Lawrence Hill, 1999) and D. C. Dance’s huge Honey,
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
— Joel Bergman Hush!: An Anthology of African American Women’s Humor
New York, N.Y. (Norton, 1998), this title is highly recommended for all pub-
12-1-0106 lic and academic libraries.
Storey, John W. and Utter, Glenn H. Religion and Politics: — Anthony Adam
A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, Library, Prairie View A&M Univ.
2002. 343 pp. Series: Contemporary World Issues. ISBN 1-
57607-218-5, $45.00. 12-1-0108
York, Sherry. Children’s and Young Adult Literature
On a topic of great interest, the authors have brought by Latino Writers: A Guide for Librarians, Teachers,
together current information that will be of use to a wide vari- Parents, and Students. Worthington, Ohio: Linworth.
ety of people. The introduction discusses three types of state/ 2002. 192 pp. ISBN 1-58683-062-7, $36.95 (pb).
t continued juvenile reviews
— Margarita González-Jensen
Using the same format as her Picture Books by Latino Arizona State Univ. West
Writers (2002), the author has produced another valuable
reference tool that lists just about everything else for young 12-1-0110
readers: chapter books, short stories, folklore, drama, poetry, Badoe, Adwoa. Nana’s Cold Days. Toronto: Groundwood/
and nonfiction. All authors are people in the United States Douglas & McIntyre, 2002. 32 pp. Illus. by Bushra Junaid.
“whose cultural heritage is related to the Spanish language.” ISBN 0-88899-479-6, $15.95.
Each citation includes bibliographic information, a very
brief summary, review sources, and (if applicable) awards, Badoe, the author of the well-regarded collection of Ananse
tests, genre, characters, and setting. Since all interest and stories Pot of Wisdom, has written another delightful tale.
reading levels culled from reviews are included, the range In this heart-warming picture book, Ken and Rama, who
of ages or grades is sometimes too broad to be useful in rec- live somewhere in North America, are excited about their
ommending titles. The nonfiction citations cover the range grandmother Nana’s visit. Nana arrives from a warm African
of Dewey numbers, with most concentrated in the Social country in the dead of winter and announces, “It’s too cold
Sciences, Fine Arts, Literature, and Geography & History. for living things.” She buries herself under a pile of sheets,
Additional chapters include resources for teachers, informa- blankets, and comforters. To make matters worse she devel-
tion about the writers and publishers, and an index. ops a bad cough that “sounded like a barking dog.” The doc-
Twenty or 30 years go, we saw the blossoming of reference tor examines her and declares that Nana has the croup. “The
books about African-American children’s and young adult best cure for croup is the cold winter breeze.” Nana throws
literature. Demographics show strong growth in the Latino the covers off, opens the windows, breathes fresh air, and
population. This book is therefore the first, but certainly not announces, “Now that I know that this cold air is good for
the last, of its kind. It sets a good benchmark for subsequent some things, I’ll be outside tomorrow making snow angels.”
publications about Latino books for young people. The book is well written and the pictures are bold and color-
— Jendy Murphy ful and complement the humor in the story.
Albany Public Library The only problem this reviewer had with the story is the
Juvenile failure to specify a particular country rather than just Africa;
it perpetuates the stubborn notion of Africa as a country
Primary (Gr. P-3) rather than a continent with different countries and climatic
regions, a notion we teachers work so hard to dispel. This
12-1-0109 flaw, however, will not take away from the joy young readers
Andrews-Goebel, Nancy. The Pot That Juan Built. New will get from reading this book.
York: Lee & Low, 2002. 32 pp. Illus. by David Díaz. ISBN 1- — Lesego Malepe
58430-038-8, $16.95. Brookline, Mass.
This cumulative pattern book is about a wonderful 12-1-0111
Mexican potter named Juan Quezada. The author gives the Caraballo, Samuel. Estrellita se despide de su isla/
usual cumulative pattern a twist by starting with the finished Estrellita Says Good-bye to Her Island. Houston, Tex.:
product and taking the reader back to the original clay used Piñata Books, 2002. 32 pp. Illus. by Pablo Torrecilla. Bilingual
to make it. The different steps used to create the pots are told (Spanish-English) ed. ISBN 1-55885-338-3, $14.95.
in rhyming fashion. The author includes several animals—a
burro, a cat, a rooster, and even ants—in the story, and these Pérez, Amada Irma. My Diary from Here to There/Mi
will help keep children interested as they follow along. diario de aquí hasta allá. San Francisco: Children’s
The pattern story appears on the left side of each spread Book Press, 2002. 32 pp. Illus. by Maya Christina González.
and a factual account of the process is described on the right Bilingual (English-Spanish) ed. Spanish translation by
side. Therefore, one could view this as a double book due Consuelo Hernández. ISBN 0-89239-175-8, $16.95.
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
to the narrative detailing Juan’s early days as a potter and
how his craft is famous today. Finally, the author includes a Two bilingual picture books about immigration from
biographical afterword with even more information on the Latin America, a subject of great interest to many read-
potter, which seems to be “filler” due to its repetitive nature. ers: one book follows the diary format, a genre that has
Nevertheless, it can be useful in a classroom in a variety of become very popular during the last decade; the other
ways, from shared reading to a resource book for social stud- book is a “lamento”—a lament. This is a genre practiced in
ies or science. the Caribbean, especially in Puerto Rico, where the most
The illustrations are classic Díaz, with bold colors, styl- famous lamento of all times—Lamento Borincano by Rafael
ized images, and Hispanic patterns that reflect many of the Hernández—was written about 70 years ago.
motifs of the potter’s works. Estrellita Says Good-bye to Her Island is about a little girl
who is leaving Puerto Rico and is bidding farewell to the This book is uplifting, encouraging, and easy to read.
things she loves: the sunny beaches, the emerald forests, the Although life on earth has boundaries, there is no limit to
multicolored roosters, and the coqui, an almost transparent the beauty of bonding with one’s Creator. Through the illus-
frog found only in Puerto Rico. Her lament is written in four- trations and words, prayers are shown as both public and
line stanzas that are poetic, sentimental, easy to read, and silent, songs that are sung, cried, dreamed, danced, walked,
all too beautiful and moving. It is clearly the lament of an or thought. Readers of this book will realize that it is possible
adult, revisiting separation from the island through the eyes to think “outside the box” of limitations that we may set for
of a child and longing for a return. The illustrations capture ourselves when we get too discouraged about our lives.
the “greenness” of the Caribbean in a style reminiscent of — Hannah M. Heller
greeting cards, an artistic choice that makes sense since one Pern’s Judaica, Baltimore, Md.
usually sends a card to someone far away. In this instance,
this picture book becomes a greeting card sent by the author 12-1-0113
to his beloved island. Hinojosa, Tish. Cada Niño/Every Child: A Bilingual
My Diary from Here to There recounts the author’s depar- Songbook for Kids. El Paso, Tex.: Cinco Puntos Press,
ture from Mexico to the United States. The narrator, a young 2002. 56 pp. Illus. by Lucia Angela Perez. Bilingual (English-
girl, tells about her sadness on leaving her village, her jour- Spanish) edition. ISBN 0-938317-60-1, $18.95.
ney across the border, and her fears of life in the United
States. A salient theme is her homesickness and her longing A collection of 11 new songs for Hispanic children is
for her father, who traveled to the north first, searching something to sing about! Most of the songs were composed
for a job. It is a happy story, ending with the girl reuniting by Hinojosa and therefore carry her brand of bicultural sen-
with her father and hinting at a successful life in the United timents and use of Spanish and English combined. Many
States. The illustrations have a comic-book quality that is of the songs were written for the author’s children. They
attractive and will appeal to young children. The artist has describe her feelings and emotions for them and reflect her
made a point to endow the characters with Mexican-Indian well-known folk music background. The song titles reflect
features, thus adding a touch of reality to a well-told story. childhood themes, but in many cases
Both picture books make for satisfying reading and demon- the lyrics derive from adult perspec-
strate that separation from the homeland is a painful process tives and thoughts. However, “The
experienced by children, a process that is never forgotten, Barnyard Dance,” about crazy danc-
regardless of how long the child remains in the United States ing vegetables, is an exception sure to
as an adult. delight a child’s vivid imagination.
— Danilo H. Figueredo Each song is provided with the
Bloomfield College Library music, the bilingual lyrics, and
delightful illustrations by first-time
12-1-0112 children’s artist Perez. For those chil-
Edelman, Marian Wright. I’m Your Child, God: Prayers dren who
for Our Children. New York: Hyperion, 2002. 32 pp. Illus. might be learning to play the guitar,
by Bryan Collier. ISBN 0-7868-8059-7, $19.99. an index showing the chords is also
Communicating with G-d is an important part of the life — Margarita González-Jensen
of children as they grow up nurturing dreams, hopes, and Arizona State Univ. West
expectations. The inspiration of those who dare to dream,
to hope, and to pray for a better tomorrow can give children 12-1-0114
the motivation to make the effort to improve their world. hooks, bell. Be Boy Buzz. New
The book is divided into sections of prayers for younger York: Hyperion/Jump at the Sun,
children, older children, special occasions, struggle and 2002. unp. Illus. by Chris Raschka.
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
strength, and traditional prayers. Each section is greatly ISBN 0-7868-0814-4. $16.99.
enhanced by colorful illustrations and the vivid facial
expressions of the children portrayed in each prayer. hooks, bell. Homemade Love. New York: Hyperion/Jump
African-American children are motivated to pray realizing at the Sun, 2002. unp. Illus. by Shane W. Evans. ISBN 0-
the special gifts of Martin Luther King Jr., Aretha Franklin, 7868-0643-5, $16.99.
Marian Anderson, and other leaders in their community. In
a prayer for peace, the child prays for peace not only in our These two picture books for very young readers deliver
country but also throughout the world, and for an end to more than just fun read-aloud stories. They celebrate love
world hunger. and life, and in particular, self-love. Hooks, a renowned
t continued juvenile (gr. p-3) reviews
African-American feminist writer, has once again written free.
books that are sure to boost a young child’s self-esteem. Like Although this story has a valuable message, it contains lit-
her first children’s book, Happy to be Nappy, hooks encour- tle information about Ethiopia. The mountainous Ethiopian
ages young children to cherish themselves. terrain has little snow or ice. The mountain becomes a figure
Homemade Love reveals scenes of a girl reveling in life and of speech for most readers. Likewise, the cultivation of cot-
in the unconditional love of her parents. She clearly feels ton is not typical of Ethiopia. Today the major crop is cof-
special and says her family calls her by such affectionate fee.
terms of endearment as Girlpie and Honey Bun Chocolate Vanden Broeck creates a mood for this story by his illus-
Dew Drop. While she takes joy in the simplicity of life, she trations, but his images of characters and of the community
realizes that everything cannot be all right all the time. do not provide a contemporary picture of Ethiopia.
During one moment, something appears to have broken The reader will need a great deal of information about
into small pieces around her feet. Even when she makes a Ethiopia past and present to understand this story and not to
mistake, she’s not chastised but forgiven, and as she says, assume that this portrayal is typical of Ethiopian communi-
“all the world made peace again.” The hugs and kisses the ties.
little girl receives from her family are evident throughout. — Patricia S. Kuntz
Her parents’ love helps her tackle her fear of the dark. Madison, Wis.
The simple and playful text is sprinkled across brightly 12-1-0116
colored pages. Evans’s lively and expressive paintings com- Louie, Therese On. Raymond’s Perfect Present. New
plement this warm-hearted story, which is perfect for reveal- York: Lee & Low, 2002. 32 pp. Illus. by Suling Wang. ISBN
ing the tender moments between parent and child, as well as 1-58430-055-8, $16.95.
playful, reflective times. The little girl’s attire is even adorned
with all of the special incidents in her life. During a brief Raymond’s relationship with his sick mother and his
sad-to-happy moment, the little round faces on her dress desire to surprise her with a beautiful gift are eloquently cap-
transition from sad on one page to smiling on the subsequent tured in this new picture book. Louie skillfully portrays the
page. range of emotions Raymond experiences as he waits for his
Be Boy Buzz is a wonderful introduction to the joys of being mother’s health to return and as he carefully creates her gift.
a boy. This positive self-image book is hooks’s second collabo- The feelings are delicately mirrored in Wang’s choice of col-
ration with award-winning author and illustrator Raschka. ors and tones used in the illustrations—gray or darker shades
Several everyday antics of little boys are evident as they for sadness, brighter tones and more colors for happiness.
laugh and run. There are touching moments of humor as A diverse community is also reflected in the illustrations of
one little boy even acknowledges that he is “talking way too Raymond’s neighborhood.
loud.” The little boys are clearly self-confident and “All ready While the story is effectively told, two questions gnaw
for the world to see and play.” at the reader: What illness has put Raymond’s mother in
Whether they’re playful, upbeat, or enjoying quiet the hospital for so long? Why does he have to stay at the
moments, clearly the boys appreciate who they are. Hooks’s neighbor’s apartment instead of with other family members
sparse text is poetic and colorful, with expressions such as somewhere? Younger children would be very concerned
“All boy. Big open heart. Sweet mind.” about these two issues as they listen to the story unfold.
Raschka’s simple, whimsical illustrations effectively cap- Reading this book would promote healthy discussions about
ture the light-hearted tone of the story. The interesting children’s experiences with both of these issues.
expressions on the boys’ faces, their sparsely drawn attire, — Sharon Chur Lapensky
and the squiggly, colorful squares that adorn many of the Minneapolis, Minn.
pages are fun to look at.
— Valerie A. Canady 12-1-0117
Johnston, R.I. Myers, Walter Dean. Patrol: An American Soldier in
12-1-0115 Vietnam. New York: HarperCollins, 2002. 32 pp. Illus. by
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
Janisch, Heinz. The Fire. Toronto: Groundwood/Douglas Ann Grifalconi. ISBN 0-06-028363-7, $16.95.
& McIntyre, 2002. 32 pp. Illus. by Fabricio Vanden Broeck.
ISBN 0-88899-450-8, $15.95. When I first began to read this book, I asked myself, Who
would be interested in a book about the Vietnam War these
Janisch’s retelling depicts the universal theme of friend- days? As our country prepares to go to war again, the answer
ship. In this rendition, a slave asks for his freedom from his should be everyone.
master; however, to gain freedom, the slave must spend the The story begins with an African-American soldier’s
night naked on a snowy mountain. The slave goes to a friend description of the mountains, valleys, forests, and rivers that
to request protection from the severe cold. His friend pro- run through the land of the enemy. In an incredibly lush
poses to build a fire on an opposite peak, where the slave can and beautiful jungle, filled with a myriad of colorful wildlife,
see the light and imagine the warmth throughout the night. the soldier and his squad are seeking out a foe whose visage
Indeed, the fire does warm him, and the slave becomes is cast only in intermittent shadow. That shadow knows that
this American has been sent out to kill him, and he is equally and about Korean Americans. Newcomer Janie Jaehyun Park
determined to return the favor. combines her talents as writer and artist in The Tiger and the
The soldier finally comes face to face with one of the Dried Persimmon. Her highly stylized, fanciful illustrations
enemy. The two boys stare at one another other, then they create an appealing background for the folktale that Park’s
turn around and leave without firing their weapons. Both grandmother often repeated to her. The expressions on the
soldiers have realized at that exact moment the utter futility tiger’s face vividly show his fierce arrogance and, ultimately,
of the entire exercise. Thankful to be alive, the soldier begins his ridiculous behavior. The language used by the author is
to write letters home, exhausted by the war’s monotony. satisfyingly effective in capturing the personality of the tiger.
I have read several books and watched many films about The traditional clothing on the other characters in the story
the war in Vietnam. None of those books or films have done is noticeably accurate, and Park’s skillful use of strong colors
a better job of explaining the basics of that conflict than this creates the perfect setting for the action on each page. Her
simple picture book. Highly recommended for older children work is reminiscent of another Korean-American author and
as well as younger ones. artist, Yangsook Choi.
— Reeves Smith Coincidentally, Choi is the illustrator for Frances and
Madison (Wis.) Metropolitan School District Ginger Park’s latest book, Good-bye, 382 Shin Dang Dong.
These sisters have contributed another wonderful addition
O’Neill, Alexis. Estela’s Swap. New York: Lee & Low, 2002. to their rapidly growing collection of stories for children.
32 pp. Illus. by Enrique O. Sánchez. ISBN 1-58430-044-2, This latest book recounts the experience of their older sister
$16.95. moving from Korea to the United States as a young girl. The
Parks adeptly capture the emotions of a young girl who must
In this attractive picture book, Papa takes Estela and Javier leave her home and friends behind as the family moves to
to a weekend Swap Meet. Estela brings a music box she hopes a new country. Korean culture and traditions are carefully
to sell for money to spend on folk-dancing lessons at the blended into a universal story about an immigrant child’s
Ballet Folklórico. When a strong wind blows through the flea experience of adjusting to an entirely foreign environment.
market, it destroys a flower seller’s goods. Estela then gives The storytelling talent of the Park sisters is combined with
her music box to the woman in an expression of empathy. the wonderful grace of Choi’s portrayal of Koreans as char-
Selected shapes and forms in Sánchez’s acrylic-on-canvas acteristically human. Children who have been teased about
paintings are sharply defined with strong lines and numer- “chink” eyes or a flat nose will enjoy turning each page
ous details. Other shapes and forms are more impressionistic to see and hear about a Korean family in the mainstream.
in style, with smudged lines and little detail. The result is Careful examination of the traditional Korean table setting
reminiscent of photographs in which some areas appear in will also delight anyone who loves to eat a good bowl of
focus, whereas other areas fall outside the focus range. For dumpling soup with a big spoon.
example, one illustration depicts Papa and Estela walking The accurate portrayal of ethnic Koreans as a unique
through the crowded market. They stand in the center of the group of Asians with a distinct culture and long tradition is
page in sharp focus, surrounded by a thick border of fuzzy long overdue. The contributions being made by these Korean
shoppers, sellers, and stalls. authors and artists will be heralded for many years by any-
Because Estela’s decision to give away the music box is one who has longed to find their own experiences reflected
neither explored nor examined adequately, it seems abrupt, in children’s literature being published in America.
even out of character. However, the beautifully rendered — Sharon Chur Lapensky
art compensates for this plot weakness, making the title a Minneapolis, Minn.
supplemental addition for larger collections.
— Denise Agosto 12-1-0120
Drexel Univ. San Souci, Robert D. The Twins and the Bird of
Darkness: A Hero Tale from the Caribbean. New York:
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
12-1-0119 Simon & Schuster, 2002. unp. Illus. by Terry Widener. ISBN
Park, Frances and Park, Ginger. Good-bye, 382 Shin Dang 0-689-83343-1, $16.95.
Dong. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Books, 2002.
32 pp. Illus. by Yangsook Choi. 0-7922-7985-9, $16.95. This is the sort of children’s book one has come to expect
of this prolific writer of ethnic children’s folktales such as
Park, Janie Jaehyun. The Tiger and the Dried Persimmon. Sukey the Mermaid and Cendrillon, a retelling of Cinderella.
Toronto: Groundwood/Douglas & McIntyre, 2002. 32 pp. There’s the supernatural premise: the magical Bird of
Illus. by the author. ISBN 0-88899-485-0, $15.95. Darkness terrifies the passive villagers of a gorgeous island.
The tale also features the beautiful girl alongside the hero
These two new books provide an interesting juxtaposi- (Marie, the princess kidnapped and taken to an isolated
tion in the world of children’s literature being written by mountain) and the valiant hero, the kindest, most hand-
tcontinued juvenile (gr. p-3) reviews
some young man in the village. stands out, esteemed by both sides from his time to ours.
This time around, however, San Souci draws as much Saladin (Salah-ed-Dine), who led the Muslims against the
on Biblical stories as he does on Caribbean folklore. The European Crusaders in Palestine of the late twelfth century,
benevolent Soliday and his mischievous twin Salacota mir- is at last the subject of a worthy biography for young read-
ror Genesis’s Jacob and Esau. Whereas it is Jacob, the pure- ers—so superbly produced that it will appeal to all ages.
hearted twin who steals Esau’s birthright and his claim to Of Kurdish origin and evidently endowed with great
Rachel, in that tale, here it is Salacota, the evil twin, who astuteness, courage, and determination, Saladin first worked
pretends to have rescued the princess Marie. his way into command of Egypt. Eventually he succeeded
The story ends on a Biblical note as well: Esau forgave in uniting and rallying the Muslim forces, in disarray since
Jacob, as does Soliday his brother Salacota, once the latter the Crusaders’ bloody
confesses that it is his brother, and not he, who defeated the seizure of Jerusalem a
beastly bird. Widener’s attractive illustrations are as much of century earlier. After a
a romp as the story they illustrate. Widener, who has previ- series of battles and the
ously collaborated with award-winning writer Gary Soto, recapture of Jerusalem,
hypnotizes the eye with her work. without acts of revenge,
— Katheline St. Fort Saladin broke the
Margate, Fla. Europeans’ grip on the
12-1-0121 region. Known as much
Shange, Ntozake. Float Like a Butterfly. New York: for his chivalry, compas-
Hyperion/Jump at the Sun, 2002. unp. Illus. by Edel sion, and wisdom as for
Rodríguez. ISBN 0-7868-0554-4, $15.99. his military prowess, he carried on a correspondence with
King Richard of England (by far his moral inferior) that
Cassius Clay was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, remains one of the famous “connections” of medieval his-
during the pre-civil-rights era. He and his family were victim- tory.
ized by legal and social segregation. The young Clay never Stanley’s well-researched and gracefully written book is
let his impoverished circumstances diminish his aspirations lavishly illustrated by the author/artist in a style adapted
for the future. Exhibiting his precocious verbal skills and a from Persian art. The result is stunning, a volume of truly
proclivity for athletics, he shouted to the world that he was extraordinary beauty in both content and appearance, a
going to be the greatest boxer of all time. must-have for libraries and individuals interested in Middle
Years of diligent training paid off. At 18 years of age he Eastern history and biography.
won an Olympic gold medal in boxing. Four years later, Clay — Elsa Marston
defeated Sonny Liston to become heavyweight champion of Bloomington, Ind.
the world. After winning the boxing crown, he announced
that he had converted to Islam and was changing his name 12-1-0123
to Muhammad Ali. Stanley, Sanna. Monkey for Sale. New York: Farrar, Straus &
When he was stripped of his championship after refusing Giroux, 2002. 32 pp. Illus. by the author. ISBN 0-374-35017-
to fight in Vietnam, Ali’s fortunes took an extended turn for 5, $17.00.
the worse. In 1971 he fought and lost to the new champion,
Joe Frazier. Finally, in 1974, Ali regained his boxing title Stuve-Bodeen, Stephanie. Elizabeti’s School. New York:
from George Foreman. The message of this book is that self- Lee & Low, 2002. 32 pp. Illus. by Christy Hale. ISBN
confidence, trust in a Higher Power, and a belief in equal 1-58430-043-4, $16.95.
rights will overcome all obstacles.
The text of this biography is somewhat stingy with histor- Stuve-Bodeen depicts a girl’s first day at school. She has
ical details. If the reader wants to find out how Ali returned her school uniform and new shoes. Like children around the
to boxing after his title was removed, he or she must check world, Elizabeti misses her mother and previous daily activi-
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
the appendix in the back. ties. Many of Elizabeti’s activities are similar to those of U.S.
— Reeves Smith children. She is timid in class and hesitant to play during
Madison (Wis.) Metropolitan School District recess. However, by the end of the day she willingly harvests
tomatoes from the school garden, counts the new kittens,
12-1-0122 and reports her activities to her parents. The author provides
Stanley, Diane. Saladin: Noble Prince of Islam. New a pleasant introduction to learning. The short glossary of
York: HarperCollins, 2002. 32 pp. Illus. by the author. ISBN numbers helps readers pronounce the Swahili words.
0-688-17135-4, $16.99. Stanley’s Luzolo also has a learning experience in the
local market. With her five-franc coin, she goes off to spend
In the long murky history of confrontation between it at several booths. Her father cautions her to be selective
Christian Europe and the Islamic world, one brilliant figure and not to purchase the first item that she sees. In order to
obtain the best price, she must bargain with each vendor. with these stories and threatens to kill the fisherman any-
She quickly learns the value of judicious choices. After buy- way. The fisherman ultimately thwarts the genie, not with
ing fingernail polish, she learns that a monkey has been the stories but by outwitting the genie through a dare.
captured from the forest and is for sale. Luzolo and her The author and illustrator bio blurbs on the back jacket
girlfriend decide that they must free the monkey. Without flap are more interesting than the book itself, which man-
sufficient money after their initial purchases, they negotiate ages to be both repetitive and confusing.
a series of bargaining transactions that will enable them to — Ginny Lee
obtain the monkey. They succeed and take the monkey to Fairfield, Calif.
the forest. Their actions to liberate the monkey give them
much more satisfaction than having fingernail polish and 12-1-0125
ribbons. Tenzing, Norbu Lama. Himalaya. Toronto: Groundwood/
The authors’ illustrations are consistent with their other Douglas & McIntyre, 2002. 40 pp. Illus. by the author. ISBN
books. In Elizabeti’s School, Hale utilizes the same colors, 0-88899-480-X, $16.95.
designs, and composition, and includes the rock doll Eva
and sister Flora in several pictures as a means of remind- This companion book to the Oscar-nominated movie cap-
ing readers of previous books. Similarly, Stanley illustrates tures more permanently the austere beauty of the Tibetan
Monkey for Sale using etching and hand-painting. Like Hale, landscape and the lives of the Dolpo people. Himself a
she uses warm brown tones to connote a friendly, support- monastic painter, Tenzing Norbu uses traditional Tibetan
ive community. Both illustrators provide a realistic view of imagery and a magical grayed palette to portray the pre-
activities in a community. carious existence of the Dolpo people living in uneasy alli-
Both books address issues of social responsibility, such as ance with the unforgiving harshness of the Himalaya. The
care for animals and the environment as well as for one’s yearly trek with their yaks over the mountains to get salt to
friends. They also stress setting priorities. The authors exem- exchange for grain, the staple of their diet, is in itself a life-
plify how girls attain discipline and patience and satisfy endangering undertaking requiring trust in the wisdom of
higher-order needs. These universal topics are applicable to the accepted caravan leader.
U.S. situations. Therefore, these books are recommended for The Buddhist concept of impermanence brackets and
introducing and comparing families, schools, markets, and resides at the heart of this story. Nothing endures and no
communities in Tanzania and the Republic of Congo. one remains the same. At the very beginning the boy Tsering
— Patricia S. Kuntz loses his father, leader of an unsuccessful caravan over the
Madison, Wis. Himalaya. Too young himself to assume leadership, Tsering’s
first trek is his coming-of-age journey, led by his wonderfully
12-1-0124 crotchety and fallible old grandfather. Suffice it to say that the
Sunami, Kitoba. How the Fisherman Tricked the Genie: abiding strength of tradition preserves and is itself preserved.
A Tale Within a Tale Within a Tale. New York: Simon Drawing predominantly on the story’s cinematic origin,
& Schuster/Atheneum, 2002. 32 pp. Illus. by Amiko Hirao. Tenzing Norbu has made this book as much a portrait as
ISBN 0-689-83399-7, $16.00. one of his paintings. Himalaya celebrates at once the fleeting
moment in the coming of age of a boy as well as a moment
Here is an tale that has been retold many times. An in the precarious existence of a whole people.
Arabian fisherman frees a genie who, instead of offering — Rinchen Yutso
wishes, intends to kill the man for having waited so long to New York State Assembly Information Center
find the bottle and free him. But first the fisherman wants 12-1-0126
to make a point of the retribution of Heaven and Fate. So he Zalben, Jane Breskin, comp. Let There Be Light: Poems
tells the genie a story. and Prayers for Repairing the World. New York:
In his story, a king is dying of a mysterious illness that Dutton, 2002. 32 pp. Illus. by the compiler. ISBN 0-525-
no one can cure. Finally a certain doctor cures him, but the 46995-8, $15.99.
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
cure is so embarrassing that the king wants to kill the doctor.
And to prove that Heaven and Fate will punish the king for The wonders and marvels of nature are an essential part
killing the doctor, the doctor tells the king a story. of life. The daily miracles that we may often take for granted
In this story a prince is chasing a priceless deer. When he help us gain insight and inspiration into the creation and
comes to a river, his dog bites his horse. Chase is over. Prince repair of the world.
in fury kills dog. Prince steps into stream and realizes he is Colorful illustrations and appropriate arrangement of
turning to stone. Dog was just trying to warn him. Prince the text enhance the purpose and meaning of this book.
dies steeped in regret. Religions and ethnic groups that are represented include
However, this moral is lost on the king, who has the doc- Jews, Buddhists, Native Americans, Christians, and Muslims.
tor killed anyway. But the doctor has arranged for the king Quotations from the Book of Psalms and from some of the
to die of poison in retribution. The genie is not impressed Biblical Prophets are also represented. The illustrations of
t continued juvenile (gr. 4-6) reviews
children show the innocence of youth and strong, deter- dispute, and Isaac is favored for his darker skin. This breeds
mined hopes and dreams for a better tomorrow. great resentment, yet the friendship emerges strengthened
The book gives the reader encouragement and inspira- from this ordeal.
tion. There are people in the world whose goals are to help The boys’ friendship and the integrity of their views on
others and to make the world a better place to live. The race are the novel’s strongest points. Its flaws outweigh its
prayers and poems give the reader the feeling that all hope successes, however. The most compelling events in the nar-
is not lost and the courage to face whatever lies ahead. Life rative do not occur until Chapter Six, by which time most
is worthwhile and meaningful when we look at the miracles younger readers would have abandoned this book. Calvert
of nature and appreciate the world that G-d has created. The blurs the lines between historical fact and fiction in ways
attractiveness of the book can motivate reluctant readers. An that are potentially confusing for younger readers.
easy read, Let There Be Light is a treasure to behold. The story does conclude logically, however, and its reso-
— Hannah M. Heller lution is never trite as the characters bring their respective
Pern’s Judaica, Baltimore, Md. journeys across three novels and half a continent to a close.
— Kimberly Cetron
Intermediate (Gr. 4-6) George Mason Univ.
Bernier-Grand, Carmen T., comp. Shake It, Morena: And Ellis, Deborah. Parvana’s Journey. Toronto: Groundwood/
Other Folklore from Puerto Rico. Brookfield, Conn.: Douglas & McIntyre, 2002. 176 pp. ISBN 0-88899-514-8,
Millbrook, 2002. 48 pp. Illus. by Lulu Delacre. Bilingual $15.95 (cl); 0-88899-519-9, $7.95 (pb).
(Spanish-English) ed. ISBN 0-7613-1910-7, $24.90.
This attractive book contains games, rhymes, songs, stories, At the end of Ellis’s deservedly acclaimed first novel
riddles, and more that the author learned as a child growing about Afghanistan, The Breadwinner, Parvana had become
up in Puerto Rico. Most of the items in this spirited collection separated from her mother and sisters but reunited with her
appear in both English and Spanish. However, game direc- father, released from his imprisonment by the Taliban. In
tions are given in English only, and there is no pronunciation this equally fine sequel, a classic survival story based on pres-
key for Spanish words used in the English versions. ent-day realities, Parvana continues the search for her family
Despite this minor weakness, both Spanish speakers and after her father’s death. Before long she finds herself head of
non-Spanish speakers should enjoy this book. Collection a little band of orphans: one-legged Asif, abused and hostile;
highlights include the “Jeringonza Secret Language” (a close a baby boy; and a young girl named Leila. They settle down
cousin to Pig Latin), the “Puedo o No Puedo Game” (similar for a while with Leila and her comatose grandmother, who
to “Mother May I”), and a series of animal riddles (“What live beside a minefield. Much of their sustenance comes from
is the size of a nut, climbs the hill, and has no feet? The the field; Leila, believing she cannot be hurt, goes out to scav-
snail.”). The vibrant illustrations add life to the author’s enge each time the mines claim another victim. After this
words and in some cases help to clarify activity directions, interlude of relative recovery, the bombs start falling again.
such as a drawing of the seashell shape used in the “Caracol Ellis has skillfully interwoven brutal details with compel-
Game” (a form of sidewalk hopscotch). As a special bonus, ling characterization: Parvana, for example, goes through
the illustrator has hidden 27 lizards throughout the book for fierce mood swings, and Asif’s insults are a constant trial for
readers to locate. Both the text and illustrations serve as a her. While the writing, tight and simple, addresses children of
window to the joys of childhood in Puerto Rico. about 10, the subject matter makes this story appropriate for
— Denise Agosto considerably older readers. It provides a vicarious experience
Drexel Univ. of the suffering of Afghans under Taliban oppression—and
12-1-0128 the ostensible war of liberation—that no news report can
Calvert, Patricia. Betrayed! New York: Simon & Schuster/ equal.
Atheneum, 2002. 212 pp. ISBN 0-689-83472-1, $16.00. — Elsa Marston
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
Tyler Bohannon lives a life of betrayal. He feels betrayed
at various times by his father, his mother, an unscrupulous 12-1-0130
ship’s captain, and his best friend. Third in a trilogy, this is Green, Michelle Y. A Strong Right Arm: The Story of
a coming-of-age tale set in 1867 in which two young men Mamie “Peanut” Johnson. New York: Dial, 2002. 113 pp.
strike out for the West and learn both the value and the ISBN 0-8037-2661-9, $15.99.
danger of a life of adventure.
Tyler and Isaac are unlikely friends—a Confederate There is a scene in the fine movie A League of Their Own
soldier’s son and a freed slave. Tyler is enlightened for a in which an African-American woman makes a long, hard
young man of his time. Soon he experiences discrimination throw to Geena Davis’s character. Davis nods in appreciation
firsthand, as the boys are sold to a Sioux tribe to settle a of the woman’s strong toss. Could it be that this was a nod
to “Peanut” Johnson? What a good idea it was to write a book about “the young
Green retells the story, in a first-person reminiscence, life of Jacob Lawrence.” Lawrence (1917-2000) became a
about the diminutive pitcher who had to contend not only painter almost by chance. His mother sent him at the age
with racism but with sexism as well. Johnson was a preco- of 13 to an after-school program to keep him safe while
cious athlete, always bent on proving that her skills were the she worked; there he was introduced to the making of art
rival of any boy on the field. Unfortunately, she lived in an by Charles Alston, an African-American painter of renown.
era when the best that black baseball players could hope for Alston recognized Lawrence’s originality and encouraged
was a shot at the Negro Leagues. it by teaching him techniques. When Lawrence was only
“Peanut” Johnson also had a very short career. After only 25 he had gained the admiration of the art establishment,
three years with the Indianapolis Clowns she was accepted showing in important museums and galleries. Acceptance
into North Carolina A&T. A few years later she received her in this white world, for such a young man, was all the more
nursing degree. remarkable because his subjects were African Americans and
A Strong Right Arm teaches young readers to go after their their struggles for civil rights.
dreams. No one could tell Mamie Johnson that a life of Hired by the WPA, he was “too young for a wall,” to
professional baseball was off limits to girls. When the adults paint murals, but he still wanted to tell stories. He invented
around her tried to push her toward softball she demurred, the series form, numerous small panels painted in the same
stuck to her guns, and proved she could handle the job if palette. From 1938 until 1942 Lawrence completed the
given the opportunity. following series, ranging from 31 to 60 panels: Toussaint
— Ron Kaplan L’Ouverture, Life of Frederick Douglass, Life of Harriet
Montclair, N.J. Tubman, Migration Series, and Life of John Brown.
In clear and beautiful prose Leach tells how the poor and
modest Lawrence overcame obstacles. A graphically hand-
12-1-0131 some book, it has many reproductions and photographs.
Johnson, Angela. Looking for Red. New York: Simon & Recommended for high schools as well as middle schools.
Schuster, 2002. 116 pp. ISBN 0-689-83253-2, $15.95. — Betty Kaplan Gubert
“I used to throw this red-and-yellow ball into the surf. New York, N.Y.
It always came back....Red didn’t come back. He’s still out 12-1-0133
there.” Orozco, José-Luis. Fiestas: A Year of Latin American
Johnson’s tale is simple enough. A young African- Songs of Celebration. New York: Dutton, 2002. 48 pp.
American girl named Micaela is at the shore with her broth- Illus. by Elisa Kleven. Bilingual (Spanish-English) ed. ISBN
er, Red, and two of his friends—and he disappears. What 0-525-45937-5, $17.99.
is not simple is the manner in which Johnson relates her
story. Page after page, she pinpoints and captures the unique This collection of 22 songs and rhymes from Latin
aspects of her characters and their perspectives. America is a delight in text and illustration. Lyrics are pro-
Early in the narrative, Mike (Micaela’s nickname) describes vided in both English and Spanish, as are simple arrange-
her mother’s grief over Red’s disappearance. Red collected ments for voice, piano, and guitar. Each song or rhyme
beads of all sizes and colors, and their mother spots a stray relates to a celebration of some sort, such as Cinco de Mayo,
one on the floor while knitting. She does not cry; she unrav- the quinceañera, the Day of the Dead, and Christmas. The
els the knitting, then vacuums for the rest of the day. Mike table of contents is organized according to the month of the
salvages one jar of beads from underneath Red’s bed, know- year during which each celebration typically occurs, and a
ing the rest will be taken away soon. They are gone by the subject index offers additional access.
next morning. Kleven’s detailed mixed-media collages radiate movement
The only shortcomings of this beautiful book are an occa- and joy. For example, the illustration accompanying the
sional use of profanity (not quite gratuitous, but not quite song “The Three Wise Men” depicts the first grinning wise
appropriate for the reading level of the book) and a section man juggling on one leg atop a camel, the second wise man
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
in which Mike looks around her school cafeteria in terms of doing a handstand atop an elephant, and the third wise man
slurs and stereotypes. That aside, this book is highly recom- sitting sidesaddle on a horse while singing and playing a
mended for its rich, complex character treatments and its drum. Each page features an ornate side border that reflects
accessible yet lyrical style. the theme of the page, such as a strip of international flags
— Kimberly Cetron running down the length of the page containing the song,
George Mason Univ. “My Puerto Rican Flag.” This is a fine follow-up to Orozco
12-1-0132 and Kleven’s two previous collaborations, De Colores and
Leach, Debra Foxley. I See You, I See Myself: The Young Other Latin-American Folk Songs for Children (1994), and Diez
Life of Jacob Lawrence. Washington, D.C.: The Philips Deditos: Ten Little Fingers and Other Play Rhymes and Action
Collection, 2002. 64 pp. Illus. Foreword by Toni Morrison. Songs from Latin America (1997).
ISBN 0-943044-26-X, $19.95. — Denise Agosto
t continued juvenile (gr. 7 and up) reviews
12-1-0134 strong-minded man with a simple, but not simplistic, sense
Reef, Catherine. This Our Dark Country: The American of right and wrong. The author closes with the wrenching
Settlers of Liberia. New York: Clarion, 2002. 136 pp. Illus. revelation that her subject’s previously interviewed friend
ISBN 0-618-14785-3, $17.00. died in the World Trade Center collapse. Schulman presents
a frank view of one successful officer’s attitudes and working
This is a fascinating look at a relatively unknown part of methods.
American history. The African nation of Liberia has a rich — John Peters
past, which is directly linked to that of the early American New York Public Library
republic. When an open dialogue over the existence of slav-
ery and what to do with freed slaves took place in the 1820s, Young Adult (Gr. 7 and up)
the American Colonization Society was formed. Primarily, it
was felt that freed slaves should be relocated to Africa. This 12-1-0136
idea was not readily accepted by some blacks. Blumenthal, Scott and Hodus, Brett. Hoop City. La Jolla,
Reef provides a well-researched and clearly written Calif.: Scobre Press, 2002. 150 pp. ISBN 0-9708992-1-1, $9.95
account of the origin of this concept, as the narrative fol- (pb).
lows the American settlers to what became Liberia on the
western coast of Africa. While chronicling the story of the The best two high school basketball players on the
early settlers and their colonies, Reef not only examines the isle of Manhattan reside in Harlem.
positive side of the emergence of Liberia, but also presents an Fraternal twins Mike and Tony Hope
overview of some of the problems that developed within the have led their high school to the
colony. For example, there were clashes between the settlers state championship. As the story
and the original inhabitants that parallel the political and begins, summer vacation has come
economic problems facing Liberia today. to an end and the brothers will be
Although This Our Dark Country is written for middle- attending the University of New
grade students, the book successfully explores an ignored York on athletic scholarships.
aspect of our history. Many period photographs of the origi- Mike intends to make his last night
nal settlers along with several useful maps supplement the in Harlem a memorable one. He
fast-moving text. This book is highly recommended. wants Tony to go with him and a
— Mike Russert couple of his friends to a wild party.
Cambridge, N.Y. Tony will have nothing to do with
the plan, and by the end of the evening Mike is shot and
Schulman, Arlene. Cop on the Beat: Officer Steven When Tony returns home for summer vacation from col-
Mayfield in New York City. New York: Dutton, 2002. 120 lege, he sees that his brother has been working diligently on
pp. ISBN 0-525-47064-6, $18.99. rehabilitation. Mike believes that through hard work and
maybe even a miracle, he might regain the use of his lower
The author of 23rd Precinct: The Job (Soho Press, 2001) trav- extremities. Mike encourages his brother to go back to UNY
eled uptown to Manhattan’s Washington Heights/ Inwood and achieve their lifelong dream. He wants Tony to make
section and shadowed one of its police officers for a year to the NBA.
create this revealing profile. Rather than glamorize, indict, or Since the story reads like a script from one of those ubiq-
even, really, describe police work, Schulman’s impersonal but uitous afterschool specials, don’t be surprised if Tony’s team
sometimes humorous observations (enhanced by many terse wins the college basketball championship and he’s chosen
comments from Mayfield, fellow officers, his closest friend, as the first player drafted by his hometown NBA team. These
and even his mother) weave a character study that will give characters are named HOPE, remember? I recommend this
readers real insight into the mental toughness required to book for adolescent males who are reluctant readers.
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
survive an inner-city beat. A big, muscular African American, — Reeves Smith
Mayfield is a neat freak—first met, and last seen, picking Madison (Wis.) Metropolitan School District
lint from his sharply creased uniform—who has patrolled
the Dyckman Houses and surrounding blocks for almost 12 12-1-0137
years. He has been in many dangerous situations and hos- Cart, Michael, ed., with Marc Aronson and Marianne Carus.
tile confrontations, earned numerous commendations, and, 911: The Book of Help. Chicago: Cricket Books, 2002. 178
contrary to popular expectation, has never had to use his pp. ISBN 0-8126-2659-1, $17.95 (cl); 0-8126-2676-1, $9.95
Delivering blunt opinions about the judicial system, the
adversarial relationship between community and police, Frank, Mitch. Understanding September 11th: Answering
incompetent and corrupt colleagues including those involved Questions About the Attacks on America. New York:
in the Diallo case, and other topics, he comes across as a Viking, 2002. 136 pp. ISBN 0-670-03582-3, $16.99.
of her parents. Marika’s older brother, Andras, feels that
Taking different approaches, these authors seek to help there is no future for the Jews and stops taking his studies
young people discuss, respond to, and understand the at school seriously. Marika can’t fathom her brother’s atti-
tragic events of September 11. Beginning with his eyewitness tude.
account of the collapse of the Twin Towers, reporter Frank’s “I would be an explorer, a scientist, a writer. Did Andras
informational approach places the events of September 11 really think that a man named Hitler in Germany would
into a wider political, cultural, and social context. Using a stop me?” she thinks.
question-and-answer format, Frank reports a great deal of When Hungary comes under Nazi occupation, Hitler
facts, figures, and other information in answer to 10 major orders all Jews to be identifiable by requiring them to wear
questions, each of which is broken down into subquestions. a yellow Star of David on their outer clothing. Though
Beginning with, “What happened on September 11th?” and Marika’s family has adopted a Catholic life style, including
“Who were the hijackers?,” Frank broadens his scope to cover baptisms and marriages in the Catholic Church, it is com-
the larger issues of terrorism, Islam, the Middle East, the mon knowledge that Marika has three Jewish grandparents.
growth of Islamism, and Afghanistan, as well as covering the The family gets separated and must learn how to keep hope
Taliban and Osama bin Laden. Particularly valuable are the alive in their hearts during their darkest hours.
historical and political backgrounds to topics and the cover- The strength of the novel is the author’s ability to put us
age of more complex issues such as the perception of America inside the carefree world of a 10-year-old girl and then keep
in the Middle East. Black-and-white photographs, maps, and us there when the harsh reality begins to dawn on Marika.
tables reproduced on a grainy gray and white background — Victoria A. Lorrekovich
complement Frank’s reporting style. A useful glossary of Danville, Calif.
terms and a bibliography and index are also included.
In 911: The Book of Help, the personal responses of authors 12-1-0139
of children’s and young adult books offer words that, as Cart Cindrich, Lisa. In the Shadow of the Pali: A Story of the
writes in his introduction, have “the power to inform the Hawaiian Leper Colony. New York: Putnam, 2002. 246
mind, heal the spirit, and help us to deal with even the worst pp. ISBN 0-399-23855-7, $18.99.
of adversity.” Beginning with Katherine Paterson and clos-
ing with Margaret Mahy, their stories, essays, and poems are The leper colony on the Hawaiian island of Molokai has
divided into four sections entitled, “Healing,” “Searching for been covered in a number of books over the years, both
History,” “Asking Why? Why? Why?,” and “Reaching and fiction and nonfiction, many focusing on the efforts of
Reacting.” Sketches by Chris Raschka introduce each section. Father Damien of Belgium, who sacrificed his own health
Responses include Jim Murphy’s experience of helping out to improve the conditions of the exiles. This latest volume
with an emergency building problem during the construc- is written from the perspective of a 12-year-old Hawaiian
tion of the Twin Towers in the 1970s; David Paterson’s expe- girl, Liliha, who contracted the disease from her cruel
riences of working inside Ground Zero; Marc Aronson and grandmother, and the novel is set in the years before Father
Marina Budhos’s essay showing how America’s dominant Damien arrived at the colony in 1873. Before his arrival,
culture can cause anger among those who hold to different there was anarchy, little food for the inhabitants, no health
faiths and values; and Suzanne Fisher Staples’s story about care, and no shelter. In this depiction, little detail is spared of
Afghan refugee children. This inspiring collection has the the horrors of leprosy and the terror of lawlessness, though
potential to evoke emotional and thoughtful responses to it shows that even a resourceful child was able to rise above
the events of September 11 and its aftermath that will hope- many of the tremendous hardships.
fully, as the editors point out, lead to a healing process. This is a first novel. The book is well written and engaging
These books provide young adults with a historical under- and would be of interest to young readers. While the story
standing of a day that will forever be a significant part of is unambiguously moralistic, it is light-handed and some-
their history. Recommended for all school library media cen- what unconventional. That Liliha must grapple with serious
ter collections and young adult collections in public librar- ethical issues as well as fend for herself in every way may
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
ies. resonate with modern teens who, increasingly, have to deal
— Hilary S. Crew with hardships of their own, including the fear of violence
Kean Univ. and split families.
— Sue Ann Gardner
12-1-0138 Univ. of Nebraska–Lincoln
Cheng, Andrea. Marika. Asheville, N.C.: Front Street Books,
2002. 160 pp. ISBN 1-886910-78-2, $16.95. 12-1-0140
Clinton, Cathryn. A Stone in My Hand. Cambridge, Mass.:
In her first novel for young people, Cheng tells the story Candlewick, 2002. 208 pp. ISBN 0-7636-1388-6, $15.99.
of a Hungarian girl living through World War II as a not-so-
hidden Jew. Marika seems to be living a life unaffected by Maalak is a Palestinian girl living in Gaza during the first
the events around her. Her biggest concern is the separation Intifada (1987-1993) with her parents and older brother
t continued juvenile (gr. 7 and up) reviews
and sister. Although the Israeli occupation has caused many in which Morrison spent her formative years, learning “con-
hardships, Maalak’s parents oppose the violent resistance tempt for white people” from her father and gaining much
espoused by Islamist militants. When her father loses his job of that insight into the interior lives of African-American
as a mechanic at a nearby garage, he tries to find work in women that infuses her works. He then traces her education
Israel and is killed when Palestinian terrorists bomb his bus. and later career as an editor of a major publishing house,
After his death, Maalak becomes quiet and withdrawn, during which she nurtured many younger African-American
and often sits alone on the roof where she confides only in writers—including Haskins himself, who offers some per-
Abdo, a bird that often appears there. Like other children liv- sonal reminiscences—before devoting herself in stages to her
ing under the occupation, her life is continually disrupted by own writing and teaching.
curfews, school closures, house demolitions, and the impris- Noting her Nobel and other prizes, he supplements sum-
onment and deaths of loved ones. An introspective child, she maries of each of her books and their ever-mixed critical recep-
likes to draw and write poems and fears that she is unable to tion with perceptive analyses of her language, her storytelling
communicate her thoughts in ordinary conversation. gifts, and her major themes. Though guilty of both a minor
Without the strong influence of their father, her brother slip—he misspells the illustrator of Morrison’s first children’s
Hamid becomes more susceptible to the extremist rhetoric book—and occasional debatable contentions, such as the
of militant groups and, like many of his companions, claim that Morrison’s aim to “create written books in the oral
starts throwing stones at the soldiers. Maalak and her tradition” was “something no writer had ever done before,”
mother Haskins offers a compelling case for placing Morrison near the
try to stop him, but fate intervenes. Told in the first per- center of the modern American fiction scene. This strongly
son, this novel is a creditable depiction of a child’s life written, more race-conscious alternative to Blashfield’s Toni
under occupation. — Elka R. Frankel Morrison (Chelsea House, 2001) is enhanced by detailed end
Princeton, N.J. notes and a substantial bibliography.
12-1-0141 — John Peters
Crowe, Chris. Mississippi Trial, 1955. New York: Penguin New York Public Library
Putnam/Phyllis Fogleman Books, 2002. 230 pp. ISBN 0-8037-
2745-3, $17.99. 12-1-0143
Logan, Harriet. Unveiled: Voices of Women in
For a book so slender and readable, this is a complex Afghanistan. New York: HarperCollins, 2002. 108 pp. Illus.
story about the beginning of the civil rights movement of with photos. ISBN 0-06-051087-0, $29.95.
the 1950s and 1960s, about children developing their own Logan offers a thought-provoking, engrossing exploration
minds, and about the particular relationships of fathers and of women’s and girls’ lives in Afghanistan, both during the
sons. Crowe gives us Hiram Hillburn, a white 16-year-old Taliban’s rule and after. This book is profusely illustrated
who has returned from Arizona to Mississippi to spend part with the author’s photographs—she is an internationally
of the summer with his beloved grandfather. He settles into famous photographer known for depicting difficult sub-
a familiar niche with old friends and favorite places and pas- jects, including AIDS, prostitution, and trauma care, in her
times and happens to meet Emmett Till. Till is a 14-year-old work—creating a remarkable record of the country’s women
black boy from Chicago who is visiting family in the Delta. and the hardships and triumphs of their daily lives.
Till is abducted, tortured, and murdered. The two accused We learn about Nahad, a teacher, who wants “to work
are found not guilty in a trial that Hiram watches closely. He and share in the rebuilding of [the] country, side by side
thinks he knows who did it, and he agonizes as an insider with the men.” We are introduced to Roya, a 15-year-old
with outsider sensibilities. He’s a Southerner, and he’s not. girl who longs to return to school. We meet Yelda, a nine-
He realizes that he has a foot in both worlds and struggles year-old who describes the perils involved with attending
with locating his loyalties, his conscience, and his identity. a school while the Taliban was in power, knowing that if
For those of us who were Southern teenagers in the 1950s, she were caught she would be beaten. We hear of Fahrda, a
more and less aware of the racial atrocities surrounding us, 14-year-old girl who lost her leg in a rocket attack. We learn
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
Hiram Hillburn is a brother. He is us. about Palwasha, a 26-year-old woman who suffered through
— Priscilla Wallace the Taliban’s rule and the American bombing attacks.
Western Carolina Center These stories and others create a remarkable vision of life in
12-1-0142 Afghanistan today for women and girls.
Haskins, Jim. Toni Morrison: Telling a Tale Untold. — Sherrie A. Inness
Brookfield, Conn.: Twenty-First Century Books, 2002. 144 Miami Univ. of Ohio
pp. ISBN 0-7613-1852-6, $25.90. 12-1-0144
Mikaelsen, Ben. Red Midnight. New York: HarperCollins,
Haskins expands his Toni Morrison: The Magic of Words 2002. 212 pp. ISBN 0-380-97745-1, $15.95.
(Millbrook Press, 2001) with this thoughtful, if sometimes
inflammatory, profile of the controversial writer and editor. On the night of May 18, 1981, two Guatemalan siblings,
He describes the close-knit, industrious family environment 12-year-old Santiago and four-year-old Angelina, witness
the burning of their village of Dos Vías during a military Take one part boredom, one part frustration, one part unre-
raid. They hide and watch their parents, brothers, sister, quited crush, mix in a little racial hassling if you happen to
and grandfather slaughtered by soldiers. A dying uncle be third-generation Japanese, and add in the inexplicable
tells Santiago to take Angelina to the United States and tell silence of your parents in regard to the Japanese Americans
about what has happened. They flee through the jungle who were interned in remote camps in the American West
and eventually set sail in a small boat. After 23 perilous during the second World War.
days at sea, they wash up on the Florida shore only to be Dan Inagaki is not a good student. His older brother is
greeted by English-speaking people who call them “stinking on top of the social and the academic world, and Dan hates
boat people” and tell them to get out of their private club. being compared to him. Is Dan apathetic, bored, or has he
Eventually, they do find people willing to help them, and just not yet found his passion in life? He and his friends call
their incredible story becomes news. They are not deported themselves the Beacon Hill Boys. They are the bad boys of
back to Guatemala because of the widespread publicity and the school.
outpouring of support. The emotions are those of high school kids. A love story
Although this is not a true story, the author notes that is hinted at but nothing ever happens. A couple of unwar-
atrocities such as these occurred frequently in Guatemala ranted incidents of racial prejudice appear, but the violent
during the 1980s and reveals that the United States provided reactions of the boys do not cause us to sympathize with
training and guns to many of the guerrillas and soldiers them. The hinted-at themes of teen relationships, the differ-
who committed these atrocities. Red Midnight is a powerful, ences between the ethics and values of the generations, the
gripping story of survival told realistically from Santiago’s nature of prejudice in our society, the Japanese camps, are
point of view. The novel can serve as a starting point for all subjects that could have been developed, pondered, and
meaningful discussions about human rights, immigration, explored, but were not.
and foreign policy issues. — Ginny Lee
— Ed Sullivan Fairfield, Calif.
Univ. of Tennessee
12-1-0145 Myers, Walter Dean. Handbook for Boys: A Novel. New York:
Mochizuki, Ken. Beacon Hill Boys. New York: Scholastic, HarperCollins, 2002. 182 pp. ISBN 0-06-029146-X, $15.95.
2002. 208 pp. ISBN 0-439-26749-8, $16.95.
What is it like to be a teen living on the edge of society? Convicted of assault, 16-year-old Jimmy is given probation
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
t continued juvenile (gr. 7 and up) reviews
and assigned to a community mentoring program, which Harvey Chan. ISBN 0-
involves working after school at a Harlem barbershop called
Duke’s Place. There, Jimmy meets another teen named Kevin,
who was arrested for marijuana possession. The two teens Life in China was
1-58234-763-8 / $15.95 / Ages 10 and up
work for Duke, the all-knowing owner of Harlem’s oldest hard enough, trying to
barbershop. While the boys sweep and clean the barbershop, pull up a rice plant
they reluctantly listen to Duke and other elderly men from from hard, overworked
the neighborhood give them advice about how to succeed earth, trying to keep
in life. Duke and the other men tease, question, and warn face and family intact
Jimmy and Kevin about letting their lives go the wrong way and maintain the
by making the wrong choices. Their words have a profound ancient virtues even
effect on the skeptical Jimmy when Kevin ends up in jail. while starving. But for
This book is obviously intended to be a guide for young those who went to the
males, especially African Americans, who will have to con- Gold Mountain (the
tend with the obstacles and pressures of adolescence. Despite New World) full of
hope of finding gold
A Junior Library Guild Selection
its relentlessly preachy tone, it is a colorful, engaging story to send back home, or
told in a leisurely style that will appeal to many teenage “Alem is a refugee who at least a new, good
boys. transcends his identity as such; life, the difficulties
— Ed Sullivan he becomes a hero, even a role were of a different
Univ. of Tennessee model and readers will care sort: discrimination,
about him.”—Kirkus Reviews * menial jobs, low pay,
12-1-0147 physically arduous sit-
Weiss, M. Jerry and Weiss, Helen S., eds. Big City Cool: uations, gaps between
Short Stories About Urban Youth. New York: Persea Bloomsbury Children’s Books the generations, and
Distributed by Holtzbrinck Publishers
Books, 2002. 192 pp. ISBN 0-89255-278-6, $8.95 (pb). Available at your favorite book retailer gaps between the cul-
or by calling 1-888-330-8477 tures.
This collection of short stories and excerpts from books It helps to know
features a multiethnic cast of African Americans, Asian that these are ghost stories. Seldom are ghost stories happy
Americans, and Latinos. Seven of the 14 stories in this ones. These are filled with envy, bitterness, hopeless struggle,
anthology have been published in other books. Popular, discouragement, and poverty, indicative of the despair and
well-known young adult authors like Walter Dean Myers and unwelcome environment found by the early Chinese immi-
Laurence Yep are featured along with lesser-known talents grants to the New World and also by those more recently
like Eugenia Collier and Michael Rosovsky. Myers’s “Block arrived from the newly reallocated Hong Kong. A kindly ped-
Party—145th Street Style” starts the collection on a celebra- dler is mistreated. The magical healing powers of jade ease
tory note. Urban life is depicted in Chicago, Las Vegas, Los the hurt of an old love.
Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and, in the case
of Eleanora Tate’s fantasy tale, “Don’t Split the Pole,” the The original stories herein seem to follow in the footsteps
fictitious Morehead City, North Carolina. In addition to of Yee’s retellings of Chinese folk tales in Tales from Gold
geographic diversity, the stories reflect a wide range of mul- Mountain. In each of these stories, the spirit of old China
ticultural experiences. In “American History,” Judith Ortiz breathes, trying to adjust to the move to a new culture, try-
Cofer depicts a Puerto Rican family living in a Paterson, New ing to retain the old, trying to stay alive. A black and gray
Jersey, tenement at the time of President Kennedy’s assassi- woodcut type enhances the mood of each tale.
nation. Joseph Geha, in “Alone and All Together,” describes — Ginny Lee
the effects of the September 11 attacks on Arab Americans Fairfield, Calif.
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
through the experiences of two sisters. 12-1-0149
This anthology breaks the stereotype that urban life is all Zephaniah, Benjamin. Refugee Boy. New York: Bloomsbury,
about crime, drugs, poverty, and social problems. There is 2002. 295 pp. ISBN 1-58234-763-8, $15.95.
also plenty to admire, celebrate, and savor. Big City Cool is a
well-balanced collection that will appeal to a broad range of Zephaniah’s story illuminates the displacement of
emotions and interests—a good choice for public and school Africans fleeing its war-torn regions, and also is effective as a
library collections. universal journey to-ward hope. Alem Kelo is a teenage boy
— Ed Sullivan whose family is th-reatened by the on-going war between
Univ. of Tennessee Ethiopia and Eritrea. After being attacked in their home by
12-1-0148 police officers in the dark of night, Alem’s Ethiopian father
Yee, Paul. Dead Man’s Gold and Other Stories. Toronto: and Eritrean mother leave their son with a traumatic act
Groundwood/Douglas & McIntyre, 2002. 112 pp. Illus. by of parental love: They abandon him in London while they
return home to try to bring about a stable African culture rap, hip-hop, folk, jazz, and new-age musical styles. Some of
into which they intend to re-immerse Alem in the future. the selections are recognizable as reworkings of traditional
What develops is a narrative of the experience of blacks melodies; others are original compositions or spoken words
in Britain as seen through Alem’s eyes, adapting to life in with musical accompaniment. Some of the cuts will have
his new home with the help of an organization called the more universal appeal than others, particularly “Shalom,”
Refugee Council. Alem learns that his parents’ act of love the chorus of which is “Shalom, Salaam, Kosen Rufu,
was their dying gift; they have become casualties of the war. Shanti”—all words for peace. Definitely the most inspiring
The young man’s captivating journey concludes with his song on the disc to this reviewer, it is no wonder the record-
induction into a British foster family and his honest dis- ing is dedicated to peace in the Middle East and the rest of
course on what it means to be labeled a refugee. the world.
The voice, the conflict, the protagonist, and the pace Although Change the World with a Sound is highly origi-
make Refugee Boy a viable choice for inclusion into the high nal when one looks at the usual library of Jewish music,
school or college curriculum studying African culture, his- RebbeSoul is borrowing from everybody. His vocals on
tory, or current events. In few other works of fiction is there “Shalom” sound like Trent Reznor; the opening “Intro” bor-
such evidence of a real person relating his story as it reflects rows from Herbie Hancock’s “This is the Drum.” “Rock of
the plight of war and displacement. Ages” compares to Steeleye Span; “Kol Dodi” can be likened
— Donald E. Landrum to the Velvet Underground. The sound and interpretation
Gainesville College (Ga.) overall is very appealing. An inspired effort from a very cre-
Audio ative and talented individual, Change the World is definitely
worth a listen. It’s not like anything else in the Jewish music
12-1-0150 portfolio, yet it definitely has elements of something you
Passion. London: World Music Network, 2002. 62 minutes, have probably heard before.
CD. $16.98. — Alan S. Gold
The producers of the successful Rough Guides music
series move in a new direction with this release. This com-
pilation is based on a theme instead of a geographical area.
Editors list love, politics, religion, and sports as just a few of
the many topics one can be passionate about and concede, 12-1-0152
in the liner notes, that “passion defies easy definition.” This The Rough Guide to Delta Blues. London: World Music
does not deter them. A traditional Portuguese Fado song and Network, 2002. 74 minutes, CD. $16.98.
an Eastern European Jewish klezmer dance are two choices The Rough Guide to the Music of Louisiana. London:
right on the mark. The rest, however, is an odd assortment World Music Network, 2002. 70 minutes, CD. $16.98.
of pieces, everything from what listeners would expect on a
“Passion” CD—deep, husky Latin American vocalists— to, These two exciting additions to the World Music Network
can you believe it, Gregorian chant! series both entertain and educate the listener.
From an educational point of view, focusing the listener’s The Louisiana guide is a diverse compilation of musical
attention on one style of music or one geographical region styles from a mix of French, Spanish, English, German,
and then providing representative music samples with copi- Acadian, and African cultures. Jazz Cajun, zydeco, blues,
ous liner notes elucidating these selections is definitely and gospel genres, all of which originated in Louisiana, are
preferable. Perhaps a group of pieces from across the globe represented here. Highlights include “Louisian-i-a” by Dr.
that deal with one theme, such as “Passion,” though lacking Michael White, a leading clarinet player and jazz performer;
any substantial unifying element, can be interesting and, at “Mardi Gras Blues” by accordionist Beau Jocque & The
times, amusing in the novelty of its assortment. Also new Zydeco Hi-Rollers; “Bunk’s Blues” by Cajun band Beausoleil;
with this release is the World Music Network’s association “Hold to Gods Unchanging Hand” by gospel singer Irma
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
with the social justice organization New Internationalist as Thomas; and the well-known song “You Are My Sunshine”
coproducer. It will be interesting to see how this collabora- performed here by the Magnificent Seventh’s Band, one of
tion will affect future productions. New Orleans’ most famous brass ensembles. The disc con-
— Christine Condaris tains 15 musical compositions in all, each one purposely
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts selected to demonstrate the “gumbo” or fusion of cultures
and indigenous genres resulting in a unique and intoxicat-
12-1-0151 ing Louisiana sound.
RebbeSoul. Change the World with a Sound. Larkspur, The Delta encompasses not only Louisiana but Arkansas,
Calif.: 33rd St. Records, 2002. 55 minutes, CD. $16.95. Tennessee, and Mississippi as well. Here, various musical
styles such as spirituals, work songs, show tunes, and native
This latest recording from multi-instrumentalist Bruce African sounds blended together and formed a brand-new
Burger (RebbeSoul) is a sonic adventure. Based on solid style called “the blues.” Artists and selections on Delta
Judaic roots, it combines elements of Middle Eastern, rock, Blues include the famous blues star Muddy Waters perform-
t continued reviews
ing “Country Blues”; Charley Patton with “High Water The CD includes an excellent supplementary booklet
Everywhere Part One,” a song about the Mississippi River with historical and geographical information and details on
flood of 1927; the Mississippi Sheiks doing “Singing On Top every performer and performance.
of the World”; Robert Petway performing blues standard — Christine Condaris
“Catfish Blues”; and Big Joe Williams with the classic “Baby Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
Please Don’t Go.” Examples of female blues artists include
Louise Johnson (“On the Wall”) and Geechie Wiley & Elvie Video
Thomas (“Last Kind Word Blues”). Delta Blues contains 24 12-1-0154
tracks in all. The Color of Friendship. Burbank, Calif.: Disney
On the Delta Blues recording the audio quality is extreme- Educational Productions, 2002. 90 minutes, color. Includes
ly poor on a number of tracks, as acknowledged by the pro- Teacher’s Guide. ISBN 0-89625-801-7, $99.00.
ducers. Though, with some effort, the listener might be able
to transcend the annoying percussive noise on some of these This story, inspired by true events, is about two teens,
selections, in this age of digital remixing and remastering, Piper and Mahree, who come from opposite parts of the
there should be no need. world and points of view but are able to bridge their dif-
It is the liner note booklets that really set this series ferences. Piper, an African American living in Washington,
apart from other world music releases. The producers put D.C., convinces her family to host an exchange student from
the music into a geographical and historical context for the Africa. The student they get is Mahree, an Afrikaner whose
listener in a lengthy introduction. They follow this with father also happens to be a policeman. Piper’s father, an out-
descriptions of each performer, including a brief biography spoken Congressman trying to rally support for U.S. sanc-
and a synopsis of the significance of their musical contribu- tions against South Africa’s apartheid regime, is incensed at
tion to the genre. The booklets end with a track list contain- the thought of hosting a white South African. After a period
ing information from the original recordings and photo- of great tension and fear between Mahree and Piper and her
graphs of the original album covers. These anthologies give family, the teens gradually begin to see past their color and
the listener the opportunity to experience musical history politics. The two girls become close friends, and the family
without an extensive or expensive research effort. embraces Mahree.
— Christine Condaris Set in 1977, the story is told at a time of escalating vio-
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts lence in South Africa following the arrest and murder of black
12-1-0153 activist Stephen Biko. Against this historical backdrop, the
The Rough Guide to the Music of the Appalachians. bridge of friendship and understanding that is built between
London: World Music Network, 2002. 65 minutes, CD. $16.98. Mahree and Piper’s family is all the more poignant. The video
challenges viewers to wrestle with difficult issues such as cul-
This compilation offers 19 selections of music from the tural stereotyping, institutionalized racism, and government
mountain range area that stretches from Maine to Georgia. oppression. It demonstrates how barriers of prejudice can be
Because it is geographically isolated, the music of Appalachia broken down when people are treated as unique individuals
developed in relative seclusion and was made, for the most rather than stereotypes.
part, on homemade instruments. Fiddles, banjos, har- The acting and production are first-rate. Accompanying
monicas, and dulcimers were played in styles with roots in the video is a teacher’s guide full of thoughtful discussion
African-American, West African, Celtic, and European tradi- questions and other activities to use the film in a meaningful
tions. This music was not written down but rather passed lesson on racial equality. Highly recommended for middle
from generation to generation orally. and high school library collections.
One of the most interesting aspects of this sampler
recording is the variety of song lyrics. White country gospel — Ed Sullivan
tunes are juxtaposed with murder ballads and themes of Univ. of Tennessee
homesickness and lost loves. Among others, the track list
MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
contains two Grammy Award–winning bluegrass ensembles: 12-1-0155
the Cox Family performing “Another Lonesome Morning” Friedman, Ina R. Escape or Die: True Stories of Young
and Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys with “Two People Who Survived the Holocaust. Brookline, Mass.:
Coats.” Selections also include Grammy-nominated vocalist Lodgepole Press, 2002. 44 minutes. Color. ISBN 1-886721-
Claire Lynch with “God Spoke His Name” and nominee ban- 03-3, $19.95.
joist Peter Rowan with “Wild Geese Cry Again.” The popular
old-time singer Ginny Hawker performs “My Warfare Will This set of monologues narrates the brutal events of World
Soon Be Over,” while the well-known old-time fiddler Rafe War II from the viewpoint of Jewish fugitives and captives of
Stafanini plays “I’ve Got No Honey Baby Now.” Norman the German Nazi regime. It provides a children’s perspective
Blake, an artist featured on Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? and with which young viewers can identify. The three protago-
his wife Nancy sing “Hello Stranger.” nists reveal their emotional reactions and the challenges of
taking adult responsibility in life-threatening circumstances.
The film raises moral questions through detailed depictions of
unthinkable inhumanity: demonization and exclusion, concen-
tration into ghettos and camps, and the gas chambers of Hitler’s
Final Solution. We hear of the tearing of the cultural fabric of
Ad Index advertiser index
Bloomsbury Children’s Books . . . . . . . .104
Eastern Europe under invasion and the disbelief of these young-
sters stripped of citizenship and basic human rights. We consider Children’s Press/Franklin Watts . . . . . . . .2
the dilemmas of these victims, forced to choose either an uneasy
Coffee House Press. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17
compliance with or a fatal resistance to brute force.
The video offers a relatively static presentation, mainly Crizmac . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42
monologues with a few photographic stills. Friedman’s delivery
is relatively lackluster, visually unstimulating, awkwardly spo- Culture Grams/Axiom Press . . . . . . . . . .33
ken, gapped by pauses. Though this film is labeled for ages 12
Dahesh Heritage Bookstore . . . . . . . . . . .22
to adult, it is more appropriate for younger audiences, with one
vital caveat: elements of graphic violence must be previewed for Feminist Press. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55
advisability in any instructional situation. The entire piece may
be viewed in a class period, or separate narratives may be viewed Gale Group. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .120
and discussed. Friedman’s usage of the epithet “German” when
Greenwood/Libraries Unlimited . . . . . .108
referring to the perpetrators of the above-mentioned war crimes
is oversimplified and problematic. The Goldman Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .117
— Joan Goodman
Albany, N.Y. Hyperion Books for Children . . . . .52, 117
Ileon.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .118
Northland Publishing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56
OCLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
Penguin Academic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9, 103
Pioneer Living Corp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25
Rosen Publishing Group . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
Spinster’s Ink Books . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55
The Child’s World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .119
University of New Mexico Press . . . . . . .57
VOYA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .106
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MultiCultural review • MarCh 2003
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