A fascinating account of a resilient culture that has survived despite oppression.



In a follow-up to her prize-winning study, Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families: 1900-1940 (2000), Child (American Studies/Univ. of Minnesota) chronicles the “history of Ojibwe community life in the Great Lakes,” with special emphasis on the role of women.

As a member of the Red Lake Ojibwe Nation, the author has an intimate connection to her subject. Beginning in the 1830s, with the U.S. government’s policy of forced relocation of Native Americans to reservations, Child chronicles the destruction of their way of life, which had been based on the cultivation of wild rice, traditionally woman's work, and hunting, which was done by men and boys. When the Ojibwe were forcibly removed from their homes and land in Michigan and Wisconsin to a reservation in the territory of Minnesota, their standard of living was reduced to bare subsistence. Forced to depend on food shipments and a meager annuity from the government, their population was decimated by starvation and disease. Remarkably, they preserved the core of their cultural beliefs, and traditional spiritual values survived despite the pressures and hardships of their new circumstances. The author writes of the unsuccessful but relentless drive of the institutions of the dominant American population to impose its core values, such as the inferior position of women in society and the replacement of traditional religious practices with Christianity. In some ways, the situation of the Ojibwe improved during the New Deal when the policy of forced assimilation ended. Poverty-relief programs run by New Deal agencies offered new employment opportunities, and the Ojibwe received funding to farm wild rice using modern methods. During World War II, Indian men were subject to the draft while women worked in defense plants. Today the vast majority live in cities while maintaining ties to the reservation and their traditional way of life.

A fascinating account of a resilient culture that has survived despite oppression.

Pub Date: Feb. 20, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02324-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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



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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