An excellent summary of New York’s role in the inception of the US: Boston and Philadelphia, eat your hearts out.

THE BATTLE FOR NEW YORK

THE CITY AT THE HEART OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

Independent historian Schecter’s debut describes New York’s crucial role in the Revolutionary War.

The Founding Fathers agreed that New York was the pivot on which the Revolution turned. They were therefore disheartened when General William Howe routed George Washington’s forces on Long Island, landed his army on Manhattan (where the United Nations now stands), and occupied the city in a matter of days. Schecter's straightforward military history isn’t exactly a page-turner, but it makes an important addition to bookshelves filled with treatises on Lexington and Concord, Jefferson and Franklin, and other more famous battles and personalities of the war. Perhaps most enlightening is his depiction of how New York’s geography posed problems for both its defenders and attackers. The city’s harbor was ideal for trade but terrible from a strategic perspective. The many overlooks and coves provided staging areas from which cannons might bombard enemy ships, but the sheer size of the coastline to be defended presented problems for all but the most well-provisioned armies. At the outset of the Revolutionary War, the colonists did not possess such an army. The British did, and they held the city from the moment they landed until two years after Yorktown. Schecter retells with panache such well-known incidents from New York’s revolutionary war as the execution of Nathan Hale and the first combat use of a submarine (a tiny vessel nicknamed “the Turtle”). He also gives deserved attention to obscure figures like Charles Lee, a former British officer always accompanied by a train of dogs who fought for the American cause until he was captured, whereupon he offered suggestions on how the redcoats might defeat Washington in a manner of months.

An excellent summary of New York’s role in the inception of the US: Boston and Philadelphia, eat your hearts out.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-8027-1374-2

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2002

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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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