A fascinating and historically disturbing journey through an intriguing land of mystery and legend.



An investigation of the cultural history and mythology of “the North,” which “represents a space both real and imaginary.”

German historian Brunner begins by explaining the concept of the North; where it begins is “in the eye of the beholder.” Depending on where you live—North America, Europe, Africa, etc.—your concept of the North will vary. As with the South, Brunner asserts, “over time,” the North “has also become layered with cultural and political meanings, baggage even.” In an engaging, sometimes academic tone, the author analyzes how the idea of the North has evolved over the centuries. Among the many topics he explores are early European fears of Viking raids, the effects of the European obsession with finding a northwest passage to China, and Norse myths and fairy tales. Stories of fierce Vikings continue to fire the imagination despite the fact that “we have only the flimsiest evidence of how men and women of Viking times might have looked.” As demand for products such as whale blubber, cod, and narwhal ivory grew, writes Brunner, the image of the Nordic people shifted from “fearsome barbarians to trustworthy merchants with whom good business could be done.” However, acts of barbarism toward Indigenous populations beginning in the 16th century forever changed their lives. “It was only in the late nineteenth century that Westerners began to develop even a rudimentary understanding of Inuit culture,” and the Inuit were but one among many northern peoples the Europeans encountered. During this time, scientists and romantic travelers also had an increasing interest in seeing the North as opposed to merely reading about it. Yet another shift came following World War I, with an increase in writings related to racial science, which described a “superior” branch of humanity and “channeled interest in the North in an ominous new direction.” Today, writes the author, “the mythical North remains very much in currency,” continuing to inspire writers, environmentalists, politicians, and adventurers.

A fascinating and historically disturbing journey through an intriguing land of mystery and legend.

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-393-88100-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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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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A fond remembrance of a glamorous, bygone era.


A follow-up to the bestselling Mrs. Kennedy and Me.

Teaming up again with his co-author (now wife) on previous books, Hill, a distinguished former Secret Service agent, remembers his days traveling the world as Jacqueline Kennedy’s trusted bodyguard. After John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, Hill received a medal for valor in protecting the president and his wife, Jackie, from Lee Harvey Oswald’s bullets. Later, the medal vanished along with photos of the author's travels with Mrs. Kennedy as a Secret Service bodyguard. Hill recounts how his search for an old award he never wanted yielded an even greater treasure: forgotten images of his globe-trotting adventures with the first lady. The photographs—some in color, some in black and white—immediately transported the bewitched author back to the glittering heyday of Camelot. Images of Jackie in Paris brought memories of the president’s first major state excursion to France, in 1961, where the otherwise very private first lady was “the center of all attention.” Numerous other diplomatic trips followed—to England, Greece, India, Pakistan, and across South America. Everything Jackie did, from visiting ruined temples to having lunch with Queen Elizabeth, was headline news. Hill dutifully protected her from gawkers and paparazzi not only on public occasions, but also more private ones such as family retreats to the Amalfi Coast and the Kennedys’ country home in Middleburg, Virginia. In three short years, the never-romantic bond between the two deepened to a place “beyond friendship” in which “we could communicate with each other with a look or a nod….She knew that I would do whatever she asked—whether it was part of my job as a Secret Service agent or not.” Replete with unseen private photos and anecdotes of a singular relationship, the book will appeal mostly to American historians but also anyone interested in the private world inhabited by one of the most beguiling but enigmatic first ladies in American history.

A fond remembrance of a glamorous, bygone era.

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-982181-11-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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