An extraordinary glimpse into a pivotal epoch in Western history.



A marvelously rendered tale of how one extended family helped shape, and was shaped by, the England and New England of the 1600s.

Intrepid seaman William Rainborowe was the patriarch of a family that, though not a household name, went on to have a definitive impact on the founding of Puritan New England and on the English civil war. Tinniswood (Pirates of Barbary: Corsairs, Conquests and Captivity in the Seventeenth-Century Mediterranean, 2010, etc.) chronicles the Rainborowe family history with both the loving care of a true historian and the wit and candor of a storyteller. His work is both a contribution to historical research and a window for the public into the 17th century. William Rainborowe battled piracy around Morocco and in the British Isles while also becoming a wealthy merchant and adviser to the government in naval affairs.  Members of his Puritan family would settle in the Boston area in the Great Migration of the 1630s. Some would go on to crisscross the Atlantic again in search of commercial success or in order to take part in English politics. One daughter, Martha, would become the wife of John Winthrop, governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Her brothers Thomas and William Junior were destined to be leading figures in the English civil war. In a story spanning three continents, nearly half a century and dozens of lives, Tinniswood ably keeps readers’ focus. His ability to weave the Rainborowe family tale into the larger tapestry of English and New England history will be appreciated by amateur and professional historians alike. In the end, it is easy for readers to agree with the author’s assessment: “The Rainborowes mattered. Not only because every life matters, but also because they were there at a moment when the world changed. And they helped it to change.”

An extraordinary glimpse into a pivotal epoch in Western history.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-465-02300-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2013

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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