An absorbing narrative history of bloody struggles for dominance over the once- pristine, vast, and rich Ohio River Valley and its thousand-mile river. In the Ohio Valley, Indian tribes had long warred among themselves until the fierce Shawnees took control. They would later oppose the French and British, newcomers who also contested each other for the great prize. Eckert (A Sorrow in Our Heart: The Life of Tecumseh, 1992, etc.) employs his novelist's skills by expanding well-researched accounts of historical characters, mined from letters, diaries, and anecdotes, into numerous episodic tales of exciting and sometimes tragic adventures. By providing a long prologue with a full historical background and at times ``reconstituting'' credible dialogue among people in briefly reported events, Eckert heightens the drama. He finds heroes and villains among the hunters, trappers, surveyors, soldiers, and hard-working pioneer families; Indians who believed in the white man's treaty boundary lines until the lines were overrun by hordes of claim-staking people from the East, attracted by freedom and the promise of a better life; British aristocrats and bureaucrats trying to rule from safe havens like Williamsburg but eventually losing control of the restless flow of people moving west. Senseless murders of both Indian and white families by a few criminals on either side grew into wars without mercy—fueled by fear, hatred, and vengeance—that killed Indian, British-American, and French in wholesale numbers. Including sketches of such figures as the young George Washington, Daniel Boone, and George Rogers Clark, Eckert takes us through the French and Indian War and the American revolutionary period to 1799, when, at last, peace came to the Ohio River Valley. Eckert's scholarship and style breathe life into the records of a turbulent time in the history of colonial America. (maps, not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 1995

ISBN: 0-553-09448-3

Page Count: 864

Publisher: Bantam

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1995



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



Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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