Reading and Interpreting the Works of William Faulkner (Lit Crit guides series)
William Faulkner was raised on legends. He absorbed the skills of storytelling as he sat on the steps of the courthouse in Oxford, Mississippi, listening to the locals tell their tales. His own family history and the stories of the Civil War generals and scoundrels all combined in his memory. As a writer, he took inspiration from these tales and created a body of literature that would tell more than just stories. Today, Faulkner is considered one of the most important “Southern writers” and one of the greatest American authors of all time. Chapters of biography alternate with analyses of major literary works such as The Sound and the Fury and short stories including “A Rose for Emily” and “The Bear.”
Reading and Interpreting the Works of Edgar Allan Poe (Lit Crit guides series)
Edgar Allan Poe and his works have fascinated readers for many years. His stories of murder and mystery are as chilling to audiences of today as they were to readers in the 1830s. This book alternates chapters of biography with analysis and interpretation of Poe’s poems and stories to help the reader see Poe’s writing as a reflection of his maturation as a writer and also the relationship of his work to his own life. The sometimes tragic life of the author is discussed candidly, as well as some persistent misconceptions about the man. Poe’s own mysterious ending is also explored, with differing theories presented for the reader’s consideration. Works discussed include “The Raven,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Tell Tale Heart.” “Annabel Lee,” and many more. Sidebars with definitions of literary terms help readers understand concepts like metaphor, alliteration, and symbolism.
John Steinbeck (Writers and their Works series)
Marshall Cavendish/Benchmark, 2009.
John Steinbeck was a common man from a middle-class family and his books told stories of common people. In his writing, he showed the plight of those who were victims of injustice and he portrayed the struggle of people to overcome the forces in the world that would corrupt them. Like most young people, Steinbeck had dreams of wealth and recognition, but when he had achieved these, he avoided the prying questions of those who wanted to know about his personal life, preferring to talk about his work and the lives of the characters in his stories. In his most famous books, he wrote about working men and women in the setting he knew best: the farm country of California. In addition to biographical information, the book gives analysis and discussion of critical viewpoints of two of Steinbeck’s most famous works: Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath.
Mark Twain (Writers and their Works series)
Marshall Cavendish/Benchmark, 2005.
Mark Twain is one of America’s best-loved authors. His books, especiallyThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, are also among those most-read and also most-often banned in schools. This book explores the life of Samuel Clemens the man and his alter-ego, Mark Twain the writer. Clemens’ childhood, adventures, family life, and his enormous successes and failures all contributed to the writings of Mark Twain. The book also includes a reader’s guide to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, with discussion of its historical context, literary techniques, critical heritage, and controversies through the years.
Raoul Wallenberg: Rescuing Thousands from the Nazis’ Grasp
(Enslow Publishers, 2005)
In the summer of 1944, Raoul Wallenberg received a diplomatic appointment from his home nation of Sweden to work in Budapest, Hungary. In the months previous to his arrival more than 400,000 Jewish people had been taken from their homes in the countryside of Hungary. Many had been sent straight to the gas chambers of Auschwitz to their deaths. The only remaining population of Jews left in Hungary lived in the city of Budapest, and Adolf Eichmann was determined to soon get rid of all of them. He did not count on the intervention of Raoul Wallenberg, the quiet man from Sweden with a fierce drive to save the Hungarian Jews from extinction. The story of Wallenberg’s daring work during his six months in Budapest is told mainly through the words of those who worked with him and those who were saved by him. Wallenberg’s fate remains a mystery, but thousands of people owe their lives to his brave work in Budapest.
Desert Storm: The First Persian Gulf War in American History
(Enslow Publishers, 2004)
Saddam Hussein first became known to most Americans in 1990, when his troops invaded the neighboring country of Kuwait. American troops joined with those of many other nations to create a military coalition to stop Saddam’s aggression in the Middle East. Learn the details of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, including the battle tactics of General Norman Schwarzkopf and the war technology that brought about a swift victory for the coalition. Includes the personal stories of men and women who served in many different military roles.
The Kansas-Nebraska Act and “Bleeding Kansas” in American History
(Enslow Publishers, 2003)
When Congress passed the act creating the new territories of Kansas and Nebraska, it was just the beginning of one of the bloodiest chapters of American history. The Border Wars in Kansas Territory included bloody battles and guerilla warfare between proslavery Missourians and the free-state pioneers who traveled to Kansas from eastern states. John Brown, the Jayhawkers, and the Border Ruffians created an era of violence that would foreshadow the Civil War to come.
The Dust Bowl and the Depression in American History
(Enslow Publishers, 2002)
What would it be like to be caught in a dust storm so heavy that you could not breathe and could not see far enough in front of you to find your way home? This book relates the story behind the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s on the central plains of the United States. Read the personal stories of many people who lived through this difficult period when ecological disaster, combined with the economic troubles of the Great Depression made life a challenge for millions of people. [Selected by the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association for its list of Top 40 Books for Young Adults–Nonfiction]