ROYAL BLOOD

RICHARD III AND THE MYSTERY OF THE PRINCES

A leading entertainment lawyer attempts to solve the historical mystery of what became of the two young princes who were kept in the Tower of London during the reign of King Richard III. Were they murdered or did they escape to safety? Fields applies the standards of a modern court of law to the evidence from events of more than 500 years ago. Gaining control of England in the 15th century demanded the (often unprincipled) exercise of power more than it did legal claim. Fields draws few sure conclusions, since hard evidence is extremely difficult to obtain, but he makes excellent points along the way. Fields describes Richard as a brave military veteran and victor who yet had tolerance for dubious characters who might even haven been his secret enemies. He was said to have an excellent record for governance. Yet he is pictured as a murderer and a hunchback, with a withered arm and malformed feet. The author finds no evidence of these assertions by unreliable Tudor historians (who influenced Shakespeare as well as Thomas More) who held the ancient idea that a deformed body indicated an evil soul. Fields asks how a crippled warrior king could have held a spear, sword, or battle ax while also controlling a charging war horse? Ultimately, Richard was defeated by treacherous allies of the half-Welsh Henry Tudor and rebellious Scots, Welsh, and French at Bosworth Field, and he died bravely. As for his two nephew-princes, Fields argues that the weight of evidence is not sufficient to find Richard guilty of their murder. But the mystery of their fate remains unsolved, as no positive identification of bones exists. A thorough investigation of an age-old question, and though the historical record is not complete, Fields’s persuasive interpretations and arguments may change some opinions about Richard and his nephews— fate. (16 paages color illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-06-039269-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1998

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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 PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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