A captivating look at how America’s 50 states survived on the way to becoming a nation.

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AMERICA INVADED

A STATE BY STATE GUIDE TO FIGHTING ON AMERICAN SOIL

A historical compendium proves that many countries had a shot at the land that became the United States, but circumstances instead resulted in a new nation.

For their latest volume, Kelly and Laycock (America Invades, 2015, etc.) turn their series concept on its head. Instead of detailing how a particular country invades other nations, it summarizes how various countries invaded the United States. And the work re-emphasizes how the U.S.’s many vanquishers pushed its only true inhabitants, the Native Americans, off their lands and onto fixed reservations. As Kelly writes in the introduction: “These invasions have, for good or ill, reshaped” America and “in many ways defined her.” The authors take the reader alphabetically through the 50 states and Washington, D.C., covering skirmishes, great and small, that took place within each. The exhaustive research shows how the governance—and the borders—of each state was exceptionally fluid, as conquerors came and went, often because of military action elsewhere, either in North America or around the globe. Drawing from hundreds of years and thousands of battles, the two succeed in being extremely thorough rather than all-encompassing. Yet they manage to keep their book an airy read. That’s because, as always, Kelly and Laycock are masters of the fascinating factoid, information that’s tangential to their overall thesis yet exceptionally worthwhile: “The training of African-American airmen at Tuskegee is also a noteworthy feature of Alabama’s war effort during World War II. In March of 1941, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was a passenger in a plane flown by an African-American pilot over Alabama.” Because both authors are history buffs, Kelly acknowledges that this volume was almost inevitable: “America Invaded was in many ways inspired by my personal journal of discovery of American military history. In 2014, I drove through 36 states on my book tour for America Invades.” The work contains a treasure trove of maps, photos, and Web addresses that allows amateur historians to undertake their own research. All told, this is a worthwhile addition to the authors’ invasion series. The only question remaining is, after covering Britain, Italy, and America (twice), which nation will pique their curiosity next?

A captivating look at how America’s 50 states survived on the way to becoming a nation.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-692-90240-0

Page Count: 414

Publisher: History Invasions Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2017

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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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Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.

THE LIBRARY BOOK

An engaging, casual history of librarians and libraries and a famous one that burned down.

In her latest, New Yorker staff writer Orlean (Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, 2011, etc.) seeks to “tell about a place I love that doesn’t belong to me but feels like it is mine.” It’s the story of the Los Angeles Public Library, poet Charles Bukowski’s “wondrous place,” and what happened to it on April 29, 1986: It burned down. The fire raged “for more than seven hours and reached temperatures of 2000 degrees…more than one million books were burned or damaged.” Though nobody was killed, 22 people were injured, and it took more than 3 million gallons of water to put it out. One of the firefighters on the scene said, “We thought we were looking at the bowels of hell….It was surreal.” Besides telling the story of the historic library and its destruction, the author recounts the intense arson investigation and provides an in-depth biography of the troubled young man who was arrested for starting it, actor Harry Peak. Orlean reminds us that library fires have been around since the Library of Alexandria; during World War II, “the Nazis alone destroyed an estimated hundred million books.” She continues, “destroying a culture’s books is sentencing it to something worse than death: It is sentencing it to seem as if it never happened.” The author also examines the library’s important role in the city since 1872 and the construction of the historic Goodhue Building in 1926. Orlean visited the current library and talked to many of the librarians, learning about their jobs and responsibilities, how libraries were a “solace in the Depression,” and the ongoing problems librarians face dealing with the homeless. The author speculates about Peak’s guilt but remains “confounded.” Maybe it was just an accident after all.

Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4018-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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