School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 5-9 Addams is America's preeminent example of the get-down-in-the-slums-and-live-it school of social work, and the first chapter of this lucid biography plunges right into the events in Addams' life that snapped her passivity. Her story then moves back and continues chronologically, tracing her childhood and early influences, the opening and running of Hull House (still operating today), and continues through her gradual involvement in international affairs and pacifism, not stinting her fall from saintly grace in the public's eye and her consequent vilification for her opposition to World War I. Her 1931 Nobel Peace Prize, marking her return to national reverence and acclaim, opens the final chapter, which closes with her death in 1935 and her legacy of practical idealism. Kittredge sets Addams squarely in the context of American social history; her activities and ideas are frequently related to the historical events that fired Addams and were, in turn, fanned by her. Her independence and courage are consistently emphasized, her feminist inclinations (and dis-inclinations) highlighted, but the ``woman of achievement'' drum never gets banged so loudly that it drowns out the narrative. Liberally illustrated with black-and-white photos of people and related historical events, the book is attractive (the front cover notwithstanding) and competent. What is lacking is a sense of Addams as a person. Although quotes from her own writing are used extensively, Addams doesn't exactly leap off the page as a personality that might spark young people. Still, it's the best available biography of her for this age group. Nancy Palmer, The Little School, Bellevue, Wash.
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