As one journalist's perspective, this stands as an excellent supplement to a more comprehensive overview.

BEYOND BULLETS

A PHOTO JOURNAL OF AFGHANISTAN

Author/photographer Gerszak first went to Afghanistan to spend a year embedded with an American military unit documenting house searches, disputes with village elders and the aftermath of battles. He returned as an unaffiliated photographer without a military escort, determined to document civilian life.

This "photo journal" features images from both trips to Afghanistan, accompanied by diarylike accounts of his travels. Gerszak's frank and descriptive observations effectively convey the ugliness, monotony and tragedy of war. Most compelling are descriptions of civilians he meets, encounters that put a human face on the conflict Gerszak was unable to experience as an embedded journalist. His powerful images never romanticize or sensationalize the war. There are scenes of bloody battles, wounded people in hospitals and dazed refugees, but also remarkable images of busy marketplaces and vibrant street activity revealing that life goes on in the midst of death and destruction. The snippets of Gerszak's observations often lack cohesion and context. Though good background information is provided throughout in sidebars on such subjects as the Taliban, Muslim traditions and ethnic groups, this book alone will not give readers insight into the complexities of the Afghan conflict.

As one journalist's perspective, this stands as an excellent supplement to a more comprehensive overview. (maps, photographs) (Nonfiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-55451-293-5

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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SHAPESHIFTERS

TALES FROM OVID'S METAMORPHOSES

Percy Jackson & Co. have aroused an interest in Classical (Greek and Roman) mythology, making this collection especially timely. In this marvelous re-creation of myth from Ovid, the late Mitchell has rewritten them, as he says in the introduction, “to make them more like themselves.” The language is simple and contemporary, moving from rhyme to free verse to prose and back again. The words are marvelously apropos, describing Bacchus as “all belly and beard” or rhyming “transmogrifications” with “grasshopperations.” All of these stories explore mystery: the origins of flowers, mountains, lakes. Pygmalion, Persephone, Midas and Arachne all appear here. The gods, being lusty and capricious sorts, are allowed the freedom of their appetites. Lee, famed illustrator of Middle Earth, makes men and women, gods and beasts, sea, sky and leaf shimmer on the page. The last image is of a broken helmet and columned ruin next to an open book nestled in a profusion of wildflowers, elegantly echoing (Echo is here, too) the closing lines, “my words will live / while people love them.” (dramatis personae, notes, pronunciation guide) (Mythology. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84580-536-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2010

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THE BAT SCIENTISTS

From the Scientists in the Field series

The “ick” factor is high in this latest title in the Scientists in the Field series describing patient field work, rescue and conservation efforts to save bats. The survival of these valuable but poorly understood nocturnal mammals is threatened by habitat loss, human fears and a mysterious disease. An opening trip with a gas-masked bat expert wading through mounds of droppings in an ammonia-filled cave is followed by visits to a rehabilitator with bats in her barn, a caver who not only researches bats but builds gates to keep them safe in their breeding and winter habitats, a scientist who finds bats under bridges and supervises building bat shelters and finally a night mist-net expedition with a Ph.D. candidate. Though the striking cover shows zoo-dwelling vampire bats from Central or South America, the focus of the text is bat research in this country. Woven into particular researchers’ stories is an enormous amount of information about bat biology and behavior. Uhlman’s photographs are clearly identified in context and the backmatter supports further research. (Learn more, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 970-0-547-19956-6

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2010

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