GROUNDBREAKING GUYS

Book Cover

Single-page profiles of men who were
guided by their better angels.

“History books are full of men who
have made their mark,” Peters writes. “But these great men were not always good
men.” So this atypical gallery focuses on men who served communities,
demonstrated real respect for others, or otherwise acted on worthy principles. With
one exception, men presented were born in or at least lived into the 20th
century. That exception, John Stuart Mill, leads off for his then-radical
notions about human (including women’s) rights and the “tyranny of the
majority.” The ensuing multiracial, multinational roster mixes the predictable
likes of Cesar Chavez, Thích Nhất Hạnh, and Roberto Clemente with Chinese
diplomat Feng-Shan Ho (who helped “hundreds, and possibly thousands” of Jews
escape Nazi-occupied Vienna), Indian child-labor activist Kailash Satyarthi, Malala
Yousafzai’s dad and champion, Ziauddin, transgender activist Kylar W. Broadus, and
socially conscious creative artists including Lin-Manuel Miranda and Kendrick
Lamar. Though intent on highlighting good works, the author doesn’t shy away
from personal details—she identifies six entrants as gay and one, Freddie
Mercury, as bisexual—or darker ones, such as Harvey Milk’s assassination and
Anthony Bourdain’s suicide. Washington works with a severely limited menu of
facial expressions, but each subject in his full-page accompanying portraits
radiates confidence and dignity.

Pure gold for readers in search of
role models who buck conventional masculine expectations. (source notes) (Collective
biography. 11-14)

kirkusreviews.com

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