A lively tale of clashing egos and national pride that reveals more about our own times than the Stone Age. (16 pages of...




A wellresearched and thoroughly fascinating account of the scientific, political, and commercial ramifications following the discovery of a Stone Age man's mummified corpse.

Fowler, a New York Times contributor based in Vienna, covered the discovery in 1991, and in the years following has interviewed dozens of men and women connected with the Iceman. From these interviews and their published writings she has constructed a complex tale of how the widely publicized discovery launched a spate of scientific research and conflicting claims, aroused fierce political and academic rivalries, and became the center of a controversial commercial venture. Her account begins with the body's discovery by two Alpine hikers and its botched recovery from the ice several days later. Since the site was at first assumed to be in Austria, the mummy was taken to the University of Innsbruck, where the head of the university's anatomy department placed it in one of his department's freezers and for the next six-and-a-half years controlled access to it. His goal of preservation ran counter to that of researchers pleading for a piece of the mummy, and his plans to commercialize the Iceman led to restrictive contracts governing publication of research results. Artifacts (weapons, tools, clothing, etc.) found with the Iceman were taken to a museum in Mainz, Germany, and put into the care of skilled archaeologists and paleobotanists eager to reconstruct as much of his world as possible. While the scientists squabbled about access and theories, Austria and the largely autonomous Italian province of South Tyrol (in which the find was soon determined to have been located) bickered over commercial exploitation of the mummy. In the end, commerce won out over science, and today, curious tourists can view the Iceman at South Tyrol's new museum of archaeology, where he has been on display since 1998.

A lively tale of clashing egos and national pride that reveals more about our own times than the Stone Age. (16 pages of b&w photographs, not seen, map)

Pub Date: April 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-679-43167-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2000

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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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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