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Can I See Your I.D.?: True Stories of False Identities Hardcover – April 14, 2011
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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About the Author
Chris Barton is the author of picture books including bestseller Shark Vs. Train, Sibert Honor-winning The Day-Glo Brothers, and The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch, a 2016-17 Texas Bluebonnet Master List book. His new books in 2016 include Mighty Truck, 88 Instruments, and Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions. He visits lots of schools and has eight more books on the way in 2017-18 and could probably use a nap. Chris and his wife, novelist Jennifer Ziegler (Revenge of the Flower Girls, How Not to Be Popular), live in Austin, Texas, with their family.
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Then there’s high school dropout Ferdinand Waldo Demara Jr. who passes himself off as a navy surgeon. It gets a little sticky when he has to actually tend the injured although he manages to pull the captain’s aching tooth. There’s a Yankee woman pretending to be a man as a soldier during the American Civil War. This ends badly. There’s a white man with dyed skin pretending to be black. (John Howard Griffin who wrote a famous book about it, “Black Like Me.”) The most edgy tale perhaps is that of Solomon Perel, circumcised Polish Jew during World War II who ends up in the Hitler youth trying to stay alive.
The stories are all told in the second person (“you” did this, “you” did that) giving the narratives a close-up feel. Short stories have been written in the second person and even some novels. It can seem artificial but for some reason it was natural here probably because Barton’s prose is so easy to read. In fact the book reads like something written for tweeners.
There are some excellent gray scale drawings by Paul Hoppe and a Bibliography detailing where Barton got the information for the stories including, I was amused to notice, a 1993 news story for The Washington Post written by Malcolm Gladwell . author of “The Tipping Point,” “Outliers” and other bestselling books.
I call books like this “confections” since the stories are like bonbons: you can’t read just one.
--Dennis Littrell, author of “The World Is Not as We Think It Is”