THE CIVIL WAR IN THE AMERICAN WEST

A thorough but disappointing assessment of the Civil War as waged west of the Mississippi, by Native-American specialist Josephy (Now That the Buffalo's Gone, 1982; The Indian Heritage of America, 1968), who skillfully weaves an impressive knowledge of tribal encounters into the larger fabric of conflict between North and South. The battles of the West were fought not only by Union and Confederate forces but by whites and Indians as well, continuing the pattern of violence that characterized the American policy of Manifest Destiny from its inception. Discussions of various maneuvers in the territories and western states, from unsuccessful efforts by Texans to annex the areas of Arizona and New Mexico, to genocidal campaigns directed against tribes in the Rocky Mountains and Northern Plains, to an intense and protracted struggle over Indian Territory in which many members of the Five Civilized Tribes were forced to take sides—all reveal the extensive role that Apaches, Shoshonis, Sioux, Cherokees, and others had in the war. Bungled Union efforts to seize badly needed cotton regions in Texas or a more successful campaign to wrest control of the Mississippi River from the South indicate that not all western conflicts involved Indians, but even so their presence as a bellicose third party had a pronounced impact on the distribution of forces and resources for both sides. While meticulous in detailing troop movements, statistics, and strategy, as history this falls consistently short of providing an overview, and sticks closely to facts and personalities without drawing substantive conclusions. Competent and informative as far as it goes, but a definitive account of the West and the Civil War remains to be written. (Twenty maps.)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 1991

ISBN: 0-394-56482-0

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 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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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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