Wednesday, August 30, 2006

library journal

The Library Journal review is out:
Miller, Joe. Cross-X. Farrar. Oct. 2006. c.496p. ISBN 0-374-13194-5 [ISBN 978-0-374-13194-4]. $26. SOC SCI Journalist Miller's engrossing first book considers in depth the lives and competitions of Kansas City Central High's debate team. While nondebaters might want to dog-ear early pages that explain techniques and terminology, the technical bits are subsidiary to a provocative underdog tale. Jane Rinehart, the devoted, beleaguered coach, champions her students without support from the school administration or the debate community. Her debaters, dominantly senior Marcus and sophomore Ebony, are keen-witted kids who thrive in debate largely because their environment doesn't afford them anywhere else to thrive. Central typifies poorly cared for, predominantly black schools in disintegrating neighborhoods. Tournament encounters with teams from wealthy prep schools demonstrate a hard truth: intelligent, high-capacity students rise up in the inner city just as in the suburbs, but few are as fortunate even as Marcus and Ebony. Miller begins as a reporter and becomes an actor, increasingly fascinated by debate, attached to the kids on Central's debate team, and dismayed by the injustice of their situation. He takes a formal role as assistant debate coach and works with Ebony and debate partner Geoffery on a novel, race-conscious strategy that reverberates across the debate community. Recommended for most libraries.-Janet Ingraham Dwyer, Worthington Libs., OH

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