Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

New Boy



Chevalier, New Boy. (Hogarth Shakespeare.) New York: Penguin, 2017.

This is the most disappointing installment of the Hogarth Shakespeare series I've read to date. The author reimagines the setting of Othello as a sixth grade classroom in 1970s Washington, DC. Osei is a new kid from Ghana who makes friends with Dee. Ian is the class bully. Other children, the teachers, and a principal all carry on the other parts. The handkerchief of the original play is now a pencil case. The re-imagining did not work for me. I felt I was reading a book marketed for middle schoolers. I felt the sixth graders of the 1970s were a little more like modern sixth graders than ones of that era. This retelling does not make me want to grab any of the author's other works. This review is based on an advance review copy received through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Scars of Independence



Hoock, Holger, Scars of Independence: America's Violent Birth. New York: Crown, 2017.

Hoock's main purpose is to show the Revolutionary War for the violent war it was. He feels most histories sugar-coat the war. He does a good job showing conflicts between Patriots and Loyalists. His descriptions of the persecution faced is often graphic. He also discusses why many Loyalists chose not to return after the war. The author does a good job with documenting his work. It's a bit too academic in tone and too gory to really be as readable as some histories of the war. Academics and military history enthusiasts are likely to find it far more enjoyable than I did. This review is based on an electronic advance review copy received by the publisher through NetGalley for review purposes.

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