A worthy attempt to prospect for facts amid the mists of myth and partisan hearsay long clouding the story of gambler and frontier marshal Earp, his brothers, friends, and foes, especially in the silver mining camp of Tombstone, Ariz. Barra, a Wall Street Journal sports columnist, finds Civil War passions lingering on as northern Republicans went west to establish business communities and dig for precious metals. They were looked upon by many cowboys and ranch owners from the recently vanquished South as Yankees, including the Earp brothers (from Illinois) and their friends—e.g., fiery, Georgia-born dead-shot dentist Doc Holliday, who joined the band of lawmen that tamed wild cow towns like Wichita and Dodge City before arriving in Tombstone itself. “The entire frontier was a demimonde,” Barra notes. He describes Tombstone as a place controlled by those who—d grown affluent through big-time cattle rustling and stage coach robberies (while approving a puppet sheriff and the local press). The outnumbered Earps and their allies met with their greatest challenge when confronting their entrenched opponents in that famed gunfight at the OK Corral; three of the outlaw ranchers were killed. The Earps were then made signal entries on the hit lists of their enemies, who bought the local press and used it to spread the notion that the Earps were rustlers and robbers. Barra cuts through most of the lies and lore, aided by his own research and the studies of credible historians (Utley and Nolan), to finally rate Earp as strong, brave, honorable, intelligent—a loyal friend and a peacekeaeper, rather than just another compulsive gunfighter. In fact, he lived as a lawman on the frontier for only six years. His wife of nearly half a century, the Jewish actress Josephine Marcus, shared his later adventures in Hollywood and elsewhere. A thorough documentary revision of the Western genre’s customary fantasy. (16 pages color and b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-7867-0562-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1998

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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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