Much of this ground has otherwise been covered, and better, in Greil Marcus’ Invisible Republic (1997). Still, fans of 1960s...

SMALL TOWN TALK

BOB DYLAN, THE BAND, VAN MORRISON, JANIS JOPLIN, JIMI HENDRIX AND FRIENDS IN THE WILD YEARS OF WOODSTOCK

Veteran music writer Hoskyns (Led Zeppelin: The Oral History of the World's Greatest Rock Band, 2012, etc.) peels back the layers of a musical Shangri-La that has plenty of dark corners.

Woodstock, New York, has always seemed more a state of mind than an actual place, though an actual place it is—and, as the author writes early on, one well surrounded by a sense of reclusiveness and mystery, as if everyone there followed the Dylan-esque rule, “Don’t talk to anybody.” Much of Woodstock’s rise can be attributed to Dylan and his backup musicians, the ones who would become The Band and record some zeitgeist-shaping tunes at Big Pink. But more can be attributed to the much-despised music manager Albert Grossman (who “wasn’t a very nice man,” Mary Travers recalls, “but I loved him dearly”), who bought up a considerable chunk of the town with the proceeds of Dylan et al.’s artistry. In any event, as Hoskyns helpfully traces, Woodstock had been an art and music colony for generations. The best parts of this fluent narrative come when the author finds unusual intersections: a very young Patti Smith, for instance, hanging out with Todd Rundgren, himself engineering The Band’s most polished studio album, “Stage Fright.” The cast of characters is stellar, from Van Morrison, even more hermetic than Dylan, to the poet Ed Sanders, doomed blues rocker Janis Joplin, and hippie entrepreneur Michael Lang, and a 100 names between. There are a few clues (including chronological mismatches: Music from Big Pink is much closer to 50 than 30 years old now) to suggest that Hoskyns has bundled up old pieces and notes, but one can charitably surmise that this just means he’s been on the case for a long time.

Much of this ground has otherwise been covered, and better, in Greil Marcus’ Invisible Republic (1997). Still, fans of 1960s and ’70s rock and music history buffs will find this a pleasure.

Pub Date: March 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-306-82320-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Da Capo

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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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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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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