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by David McCullough

Library Journal McCullough (John Adams; 1776) effectively blends impeccable writing with historical rigor and strong character definition in his biography of Wright brothers Wilbur, the abstract thinker and introvert; and Orville, the extrovert and hands-on doer. They had limited formal education, with the author instead attributing his subjects' success to industry, imagination, and persistence, as seen in their early enterprises as newspaper publishers, printers, and bicycle salesmen in Dayton, OH. Credit is also accorded to their widowed father, Bishop Milton Wright, as well as their sister Katharine for their support of "Ullam" (Wilbur) and "Bubs" (Orville). Highlights of McCullough's narrative include his discussions of the Wrights' innovative conception of wing-warping as a means of flight control; the brothers' first controlled, powered, and sustained heavier-than-air human flight at Kitty Hawk, NC, on December 17, 1903; the issuance of the Wright flying machine patent #821,393 on May 22, 1906; the Ohioans' ongoing search for markets abroad; and the elder Wright's perfect flying demonstrations at Le Mans, France, even as Orville was nearly killed in a similar performance before army brass at Fort Myer, VA. The author closes with the incorporation of the Wright Company, patent infringement suits filed against competitor Glenn Curtiss, and the deaths of Wilbur (1912), Milton (1917), Katharine (1929), and Orville (1948). VERDICT A signal contribution to Wright historiography. Highly recommended for academicians interested in the history of flight, transportation, or turn-of-the-century America; general readers; and all libraries.-John Carver Edwards, formerly with Univ. of Georgia Libs. Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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by John Irving

Publishers Weekly Prep school. Wrestling. Unconventional sexual practices. Viennese interlude. This bill of particulars could only fit one American author: John Irving. His 13th novel (after Last Night in Twisted River) tells the oftentimes outrageous story of bisexual novelist Billy Abbott, who comes of age in the uptight 1950s and explores his sexuality through two decadent decades into the plague-ridden 1980s and finally to a more positive present day. Sexual confusion sets in early for Billy, simultaneously attracted to both the local female librarian and golden boy wrestler Jacques Kittredge, who treats Billy with the same disdain he shows Billy's best friend (and occasional lover) Elaine. Faced with an unsympathetic mother and an absent father who might have been gay, Billy travels to Europe, where he has affairs with a transgendered female and an older male poet, an early AIDS activist. Irving's take on the AIDS epidemic in New York is not totally persuasive (not enough confusion, terror, or anger), and his fractured time and place doesn't allow him to generate the melodramatic string of incidents that his novels are famous for. In the end, sexual secrets abound in this novel, which intermittently touches the heart as it fitfully illuminates the mutability of human desire. Agent: Dean Cooke, the Cooke Agency. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal What is "normal"? Does it really matter? In Irving's latest novel (after Last Night in Twisted River), nearly everyone has a secret, but the characters who embrace and accept their own differences and those of others are the most content. This makes the narrator, Bill, particularly appealing. Bill knows from an early age that he is bisexual, even if he doesn't label himself as such. He has "inappropriate crushes" but doesn't make himself miserable denying that part of himself; he simply acts, for better or for worse. The reader meets Bill at 15, living on the campus of an all-boys school in Vermont where his stepfather is on the faculty. Through the memories of a much older Bill, his life story is revealed, from his teenage years in Vermont to college and life as a writer in New York City. Bill is living in New York during the 1980s, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, and the suffering described is truly heart-wrenching. Irving cares deeply, and the novel is not just Bill's story but a human tale. VERDICT This wonderful blend of thought-provoking, well-constructed, and meaningful writing is what one has come to expect of Irving, and it also makes for an enjoyable page-turner. [See Prepub Alert, 11/28/11.]-Shaunna Hunter, Hampden-Sydney Coll. Lib., VA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* Much of Irving's thirteenth novel is piquantly charming, crisply funny, and let-your-guard-down madcap in the classic mode of a Frank Capra or Billy Wilder film. This shrewdly frolicsome ambience is tied to the amateur theatrical productions that provide the primary source of entertainment in mid-twentieth-century First Sister, Vermont, a no-place-to-hide yet nonetheless secretive small town sporting a private boy's prep school. Here lives young, fatherless Billy, whose lumberman-by-day, actor-by-night Grandpa Harry plays women's roles with baffling authenticity. By the time Billy turns 13, he realizes that something sets him apart beyond his speech impediment and determination to become a writer, namely his crushes on the wrong people, including his future stepfather, teacher and Shakespeare scholar Richard, and Miss Frost, the tall, strong librarian who eventually proves to be the key to the truth about Billy's bisexuality and his biological father. Storytelling wizard that he is, Irving revitalizes his signature motifs (New England life, wrestling, praising great writers, forbidden sex) while animating a glorious cast of misfit characters within a complicated plot. A mesmerizing, gracefully maturing narrator, Billy navigates fraught relationships with men and women and witnesses the horrors of the AIDS epidemic. Ever the fearless writer of conscience calling on readers to be open-minded, Irving performs a sweetly audacious, at times elegiac, celebration of human sexuality. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Irving is always a huge draw, and this sexually daring and compassionate tale, which harks back to the book that made him famous, The World according to Garp (1978), will garner intense media attention.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

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by Ron Chernow

Library Journal In this cradle-to-grave biography of the Founding Father, notable biographer Chernow (Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller) thoroughly recounts how Washington rose to prominence in the French and Indian War, parlayed that early heroism into international fame as general of the Continental army during the American Revolution, and, as America's first President, unified a young nation and shaped its government-and he offers deeper explorations of, for example, Washington's cold relationship with his mother, his heavy reliance on younger devotees such as Alexander Hamilton and the Marquis de Lafayette, and his contradictory actions regarding slavery. Chernow's Washington is a reluctant celebrity who perpetually tries to retire from national service but refuses to turn his back on an embryonic republican country struggling with its newfound freedom. The narrative relies heavily on Washington's papers, but Chernow also liberally cites other primary sources and previous biographies. While objective for the most part, he occasionally offers well-grounded opinions on Washington's character and political and military actions. VERDICT This broadly and deeply researched work is a major addition to Washington scholarship-every era should have its new study of him-and it should appeal to informed lay readers and undergraduates interested in stepping beyond the typical textbook treatment.-Douglas King, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* With so much that can be said and said positively about this magisterial biography, it is difficult not to write a review as long as the book itself. Given the distinction of the author, who wrote, among other single and collective biographies, the glowingly reviewed Alexander Hamilton (2004), readers can safely assume from the outset that what lies ahead of them is a vastly enlightening, overwhelmingly engaging treatment of a great man. The subject of the book needs only, by way of identification, the one word that Chernow uses as his title: Washington. Another book on Washington? is a question rendered pointless by this one, which happens to be the author's masterpiece. Definitive Washington is the point and effect of this biography. Our first president is thought of as more marble statue than living, hurting, loving human; however, Chernow's Washington stands not in the opposite corner as hot-blooded and animated. Washington spent a lifetime practicing control of his passions and emotions; his innate virtues, undenied and even celebrated here, were sharpened and focused by the man's suppression of a natural volatility. His gift of silence and of inspired simplicity, as the author so aptly terms Washington's strongest suits, supported his consequent leadership as general and as president.--Hooper, Brad Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Choice This is the best of recent Washington biographies, but it still comes up short of exposing the whole man. Although judiciously weighing in on some foibles, the book continues the hagiographic tradition. Chernow clearly depicts family life, plantation management, and slaves. Less satisfying are Washington's relationships with men of his officer corps, which are very revealing to anyone who cares to investigate this area. There are significant gaps--for example, in analysis of the politics of command, Washington's role in the French and Indian War, and the war of attrition in New Jersey (winter and spring 1777). The author is too apologetic of the few not so brilliant military decisions, such as at the Battle of Monmouth. Chernow is given to rounding off and overgeneralizing his evaluations, of which in-depth research would have afforded more sharp edges. A fertile field pertaining to Washington's great disdain for the common soldier awaits researchers. The real Washington still demands a diligent and objective biographer. Meanwhile, this large volume has enlightening moments and is entertaining. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels, general and academic. H. M. Ward emeritus, University of Richmond

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

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by O'Neal, Eilis

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-One day after her 16th birthday, Nalia, the Princess of Thorvaldor, learns that she isn't "Nalia" after all. She is Sinda, a poor peasant who has been used as a decoy to save the true princess. Because of a prophecy that foresaw her death before her 16th birthday, the true Nalia was sent to a convent where she was kept safe. Now, she returns to Thorvaldor, and Sinda is sent to live with her aunt in Treb, where she struggles with her new identity and misses the king and queen, the only parents she ever knew, and Kiernan, her best friend. When a friend betrays her trust, she becomes overwhelmed and magic begins bursting out of her-magic that she didn't know she possessed and can't control. She goes back to Thorvaldor and becomes a scribe to the eccentric Philantha. One night, she watches someone put a spell on Nalia, or the girl who she thought was Nalia. It is the same spell that was repeatedly put on Sinda to hide her true identity during her first 16 years. Could there be another decoy? Who is deceiving the king and queen? The plot line is unpredictable, causing readers to be pulled along with each page turn to find out what will happen next. The thick character descriptions allow for teens to empathize and put themselves in the place of Sinda and the others. The characters are dealing with the angst of change and identity development, so readers can really relate to the issues that come up in this exciting story. Written from Sinda's perspective, this book takes readers on a wild ride of deception, mystery, and young love.-Kathryn Kennedy, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Young readers who have ever wondered if they are in the right family might heed O'Neal's fantasy as a cautionary tale. Princess Nalia was switched at birth, when the king and queen of Thorvaldor hid their infant daughter to avoid a deadly curse due before her sixteenth birthday. A stand-in princess was arranged and then cruelly torn from the palace when the danger had passed. Now called Sinda, the forme. princes. lives a hardscrabble existence as scribe to a minor wizard. Bright and plucky, Sinda does not meekly slip away. She comes to realize she holds magic powers that need taming, and she also uncovers a good deal of palace intrigue connected to master wizard Melaina, and even a second birth switch that has ensconced the latter's daughter in the palace in place of the true princess. Who will believe Sinda? Brave and clever Kiernan, a good friend from her palace days, helps her plot and triumph. This novel crackles with adventure and suspense and will delight fans with its blend of wizardry and court life.--O'Malley, Ann. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Just after her 16th birthday, the princess of Thorvaldor finds out she is no princess at all, but a peasant girl named Sinda Azaway, switched at birth with the real princess after a prophesy predicted the royal's death; Sinda has ceased to be useful to the king and queen now that the fated birthday of their real daughter has passed. Readers will feel for Sinda, who's immediately exiled from palace life, sent to live with an unknown aunt, and burdened with having lived a lie. Debut novelist O'Neal deftly draws a protagonist to root for as Sinda forges a new identity, comes into her own as a talented wizard, and discovers further royal intrigue. Sinda's sadness and anger feel righteous, never grating, and O'Neal quickly buoys Sinda's new life with her best friend from the palace, Kiernan, who proves his loyalty, and a wonderful teacher in the eccentric Philantha, who takes Sinda in as a wizard's apprentice. Fans of Shannon Hale will enjoy this compelling fantasy, which is filled with magic, political drama, and romance. Ages 10-up. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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