No matter: though his efforts to excavate the Adventure Galley are as tortured as Kidd's last days, Clifford still knows how...

THE RETURN TO TREASURE ISLAND AND THE SEARCH FOR CAPTAIN KIDD

An enjoyable re-creation of Captain William Kidd's last days, twined with pirate-hunter Clifford's (The Lost Fleet, 2002, etc.) efforts to locate the captain's last great privateering vessel.

Long a fascination of the author’s, Kidd left enough of a historical record that Clifford felt he might be able to locate “the real Treasure Island and find an archaeological treasure, the sunken flagship of one of the world's most notorious and misunderstood pirates.” His quest takes him to Ile Sainte-Marie, a current-day possession of Madagascar, in the Indian Ocean, an island considered by Clifford to be the only true pirate island, and where he expects to find the remains of the Adventure Galley. This was where Kidd had been dumped by his mutinous crew after an ill-fated privateering effort put together by a company of colonial and British notables, including the King of England, later much to his embarrassment. Clifford tells the woeful Kidd story well, though it is difficult to appreciate Kidd as “misunderstood”—his ship committed acts of piracy, and he hung for it—or that he had undertaken his ruinous privateering mission to improve his “social standing,” since he was already a man of considerable social and economic stature in New York City. But he was surely a rogue's rogue, and Clifford relates a number of shenanigans, including an episode in which he sent his men aloft to drop their drawers and moon a royal yacht. In alternating chapters, Clifford tells of his three expeditions in pursuit of the Adventure Galley and the endless struggles with Malagassy bureaucrats and a dreadful run-in with another dive team that opened up old rivalries. In the end, Clifford believes he’s located the ship, an excitement leavened by a handful of mumbo-jumbo about being guided by a dream. . . .

No matter: though his efforts to excavate the Adventure Galley are as tortured as Kidd's last days, Clifford still knows how to wring every drop of romance from his pirate-hunting.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-06-018509-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

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. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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