A SORROW IN OUR HEART

THE LIFE OF TECUMSEH

A spirited but misdirected stab at a definitive biography of the great Shawnee warrior, from prolific historian and novelist Eckert, whose six-volume nonfiction The Winning of America series (Twilight of Empire, Gateway to Empire, etc.) paved the way for this epic. Employing what he terms ``narrative biography'' as a touchstone (and as an apparent euphemism for poetic license), Eckert embarks on a quest for the real Tecumseh, seeking a life buried beneath countless legends and tales. The result is a mammoth account of a remarkable American from the spectacular moment of his birth—concurrent with the appearance of a brilliant shooting star- -to his sudden death in the Battle of Thames in 1813, an event described in more than 40 different ways by ``eyewitnesses.'' Along with the portrait of a man of keen insight and ability—a natural leader who eschewed the role of chief but who sought tirelessly to unite all tribes in a pan-Indian movement—emerges a rich tapestry of Native American society in the Ohio region during Tecumseh's time. The Indian leader and his family, especially his brother, the prophet Tenskwatawa, figured dramatically in the growing violence along the frontier as white settlers swarmed across the Appalachians onto Indian lands. By emphasizing the greatness of Tecumseh, however, Eckert minimizes the significance of tribal unification as a wider phenomenon and the role of spiritual leaders in firing that movement, to the extent that, for instance, Tenskwatawa is depicted as a sniveling conniver achieving renown largely through his brother's generosity. A biography that succeeds better as fiction. Astoundingly detailed but ambitious to a fault, in its interpretative zeal it strays from, or at least embellishes, the historical record to the point of being suspect.

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 1992

ISBN: 0-553-08023-7

Page Count: 880

Publisher: Bantam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1991

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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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ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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