Kugelmass has written an easy-to-read biographical account in which Bunche is presented as the typical hard worker whose persistence and dedication bring him success. The emphasis from beginning to end is on the positive aspects of Bunche’s personality. Indeed, he is portrayed as an individual with virtually no personal faults, even though the reader sees no appreciation expressed for the sacrifices made by his family or by his wife and children as they dedicate their energies and finances to his career success.
Like most successful people, Bunche is described as being a model for others to emulate. He studied hard, played fairly, solved problems in a practical manner, and maintained the respect and friendship of his peers as he steadily moved from one successful task to the next. Kugelmass points out several times that Bunche’s ability to see both myriad details and the complete overall picture was one of his greatest strengths. This talent is certainly worthy of emulation by the young reader.
In this account, Bunche is portrayed as having multiple interests and an inveterate appetite for new knowledge and experiences. This lust for adventure, combined with a fortunate set of circumstances that made the opportunity to pursue it available and a constitution that allowed work over long periods of time, produced extraordinary results that the average reader might never expect to attain.
The writing itself is typical of most...
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The work of Bunche was groundbreaking and of vital importance at the time that it was conducted. The fact that the Israeli-Arab problem continues to exist does not diminish his work, but rather emphasizes the need of more diplomats with his special strengths, creativity, and dedication to problem solving. The fact that Bunche is relatively unknown to the current generation of readers makes this book an important contribution.
At the time that this book was written, Bunche was still alive and the information contained in the book was current history. This fact provides the book with a sense of immediacy that is appealing. There is, however, no attempt made to place Bunche’s accomplishments in any historical framework; it is as if the slice of history that is portrayed in this book could have occurred in almost any period. While this effect may be an effort to make the book timeless, it also makes the work have less impact on the developing historical knowledge of the young reader.
The initial chapter and repeated references throughout the book attempt to emphasize the significance of Bunche’s success as an African American. Yet, the portrayal of Bunche himself is one of a person who was realistic about sociological viewpoints while living his own life in a color-blind manner. The importance of this dual point of view varies from generation to generation, and its appeal or lack of appeal may be attributable mostly to the reader’s experiences and personal set of prejudices. It would be to the reader’s benefit to have other books available on Bunche’s life in order to compare points of view. Yet there are few books written about Bunche’s life that would be appropriate for young people. Therefore, Kugelmass’ book helps to fill a void in young adult biography.