A welcome addition to Cherokee history.




A vigorous account of the forced removal of the Cherokee people from their southern homelands and the complex events leading to what the author does not hesitate to call a “death march.”

Charleston Post and Courier senior writer Hicks (When the Dancing Stopped: The Real Story of the Morro Castle Disaster and Its Deadly Wake, 2006, etc.) shapes his story around tribal leader John Ross, popularly known as “the Cherokee Moses,” who led his people to Oklahoma and thereafter tried to forge of their reservation a true independent state. “He was the architect of the tribe’s greatest period of advancement; he made the Cherokees the most civilized of American Indian tribes,” writes the author. It is no small curiosity that Ross was as white as were the settlers who infringed on Cherokee territory and eventually displaced his people, whose number he joined by choice out on the frontier. In fact, he “barely had any Indian blood coursing through his veins. Yet, as Hicks, himself of Cherokee ancestry, capably argues, Ross was perhaps the greatest of all Cherokee leaders, even though in many ways he failed at his efforts. For one thing, he often outflanked but could never completely outrun Andrew Jackson, who was bent on making the hunting grounds of the Cumberland Plateau a white domain. Even before he became president, Jackson wanted to force the Indians of the southeast onto distant reservations to the west. For another, Ross’s efforts were often undone by tribal factionalism, betrayed even by his own brother. In his attempts to forge a true confederacy of Cherokee bands, he failed to reckon with private jealousies and with the demands of Indians who had already moved west before Ross and his people arrived. Hicks writes with appropriate indignation of their removal, calling it “little more than a human cattle drive.” He also takes a measured view of Ross’s opponents and allies alike, shedding new light on the career of other eminent figures such as the newspaperman and Confederate general Stand Watie.

A welcome addition to Cherokee history.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8021-1963-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Grove

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2010

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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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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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