While each expedition could easily merit its own book, Turney adroitly manages to give a full portrait of each explorer and...

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1912

THE YEAR THE WORLD DISCOVERED ANTARCTICA

An in-depth look at a year in which five different expeditions set out to explore Antarctica.

As the last continent to be discovered and explored, the history of Antarctica is relatively short; the first recorded landfall on the continent wasn’t until 1821. But in 1912, “at the height of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, the door to Antarctica was flung open.” The continent would see no fewer than five different national exploration teams during that year, and geologist Turney (Earth Science/Univ. of New South Wales; Ice, Mud & Blood: Lessons from Climates Past, 2008, etc.) examines each expedition in turn, after outlining some of the earliest attempts at exploring Antarctica, including Ernest Shackleton’s 1907-1909 expedition. Englishman Robert Scott and Norwegian Roald Amundsen are perhaps the best known of these explorers: Amundsen reached the South Pole first, in 1911, while Scott’s party reached it five weeks later, then found themselves pinned down on their return by a blizzard, which ultimately killed the entire expedition. However, the most interesting parts of this book deal with the three less-famous expeditions, led by Nobu Shirase from Japan, Wilhelm Filchner of Germany and Douglas Mawson of Australia and New Zealand. Shirase’s expedition and its findings faded into obscurity because official accounts went untranslated from their original Japanese for years. Filchner’s ship spent eight months trapped in the sea ice, and although he returned with many oceanographic insights, his crew nearly mutinied, and Filchner returned to Germany as a failure. Mawson almost died when a lack of food forced him to eat his own sled dogs, leading to acute vitamin A poisoning from eating the dogs’ livers.

While each expedition could easily merit its own book, Turney adroitly manages to give a full portrait of each explorer and crew without giving any short shrift.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58243-789-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Counterpoint

Review Posted Online: Sept. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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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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