A worthy addition to any Civil War bookshelf.

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COURAGE AND DEVOTION

The comprehensive regimental history of a Confederate artillery unit.

This scholarly debut by Kindig, a retired community college history professor, chronicles the soldiers, equipment, movements and battles of a light artillery unit from its spring-1861 formation in Memphis, Tennessee, by Capt. Smith P. Bankhead to its Dec. 9, 1863, disbandment following the South’s defeat at Missionary Ridge. Kindig draws his title from praise for the troops offered by commander William L. Scott in a five-page summary he penned in 1886, previously the only work to focus on the unit. Kindig spent 30 years tracking down records that Scott thought had been lost or never knew existed, and the result is an impressive historical re-creation. Readers find themselves on the ground and in the midst of battle as a result of Kindig’s intimate and uncanny familiarity with the daily movements and moods of these soldiers. He has pieced together minute details from hundreds of sources, including government records, personal letters, memoirs and scholarly texts, all of which are footnoted for easy reference. Fifteen appendices organize rosters, ranks, recruits, transfers and desertions. Although the narrative assumes a basic knowledge of Civil War history, any reader will grasp the rank-and-file’s reactions to repeated decisions by Gen. Braxton Bragg that turned tactical victories into strategic retreat as well as their struggling morale as material shortages worsened. Kindig’s affection for the characters he has so thoroughly studied is apparent, as is his respect for their commitment, if not their cause. Though he presents the conflict from their point of view, he maintains a scholarly rather than partisan tone. The only shortcomings are mediocre illustrations and scattered typos and editing miscues. Errant words, apparently orphaned when sentences were revised, occasionally mar what is otherwise clear, well-paced prose. Given the author’s extraordinary attention to detail in every battle, it’s a shame that location maps aren’t more legible and more numerous. Nevertheless, Kindig achieves his stated goal of telling “the stories of common men,” and aficionados of the genre will find a wealth of information and insight to enjoy.

A worthy addition to any Civil War bookshelf.

Pub Date: July 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1496918352

Page Count: 272

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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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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