A curious combination of convincing historical analysis, poetry, and art.

JFK

THE MAGNIFICENT JOURNEY

A creative approach to the seemingly bizarre circumstances surrounding President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

Undoubtedly, Kennedy’s murder on Nov. 22, 1963, is a wound in America’s national psyche that hasn’t healed. Salerian (POEMS and Paintings for 20,000 Doctors, 2015, etc.) takes this sad truth a step further by classifying it as a tragedy of global proportions. He writes of his own personal reaction in the preface: “I was 16, then living in Istanbul, Turkey, and I cried when JFK died….JFK had given me—and the rest of the planet—hope for a better world.” He then proceeds to dismantle the official narrative of Kennedy’s death through a series of concise chapters with titles such as, “What the Secret Service has to tell us,” “Understanding photograph reconstruction,” and “Premature Deaths of Witnesses and Reporters.” The author even provocatively suggests the term “cerebro-genocide” to describe the obstacles preventing a thorough investigation of what he sees as lingering inconsistencies. He’s eventually led to “the conclusion that many intellectuals with crucial information about JFK’s death were silenced.” Unfortunately, sometimes-faulty punctuation, as well as missing or misspelled words (“By was of summary”), may distract readers, but overall, Salerian still manages to construct a convincing argument. This text may be most valuable as a primer for younger readers who are unfamiliar with the political landscape of the early 1960s and the forces at play around the time of the puzzling, maddening event. What sets this book apart from others of its type is its inclusion of original artwork and poetry; it contrasts nicely with the forensic quality of the prose, yet also draws out its emotional underpinnings. The paintings are mostly untitled, boldly colored, and abstract, and the poems feature narrow columns of text and a plaintive voice calling for peace, justice, and transparency. Fittingly, the first verse of “Naked Village” reads: “Why not to build / A different world / One village at a time / A transparent village / Every nail every stone / Glass columns / Civil servants / And the Army / All naked / Naked weapons / No secrets / No secret tools.”

A curious combination of convincing historical analysis, poetry, and art.

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5169-0916-2

Page Count: 164

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

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

NIGHT

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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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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