Steed's debut nonfiction title is an elegant, poetic history delving into the mysterious people of the Moor in western England.

The volume begins with chapter-by-chapter accounts of the generations who lived on the Moor over the course of 20 centuries, beginning with those who fought against, and subsequently fell to, Roman occupation. Steed tracks how isolated, decentralized tribes advanced and unified over hundreds of years. This section, though chronological, presents the reader with many overlying themes, such as the tensions and innovations created by the church. The second part of the book takes a more in-depth look at the mid-Victorian era. This pivotal generation saw challenges and advancements on the moor like no time before or arguably since. Set against the backdrop of an increasing stratification of society, many issues are particularly apt to modern readers, like how to best help the poor, the broadening availability of education and the challenges of health care in a unified society. The final act of the book adds interesting commentary for readers, analyzing societal pressures and their effects—and how this idea plays out in history. Steed's examination of themes like personal narrative sheds light on the power and limits of a one-dimensional view of history. His ability to create significance through history without overburdening the past with contrived meaning is the strongest aspect of this title. The book is thoroughly sourced in a scholarly style, but continuous numbering throughout the volume, rather than by chapter, creates awkward fumbling when searching for citations. Steed uses an appropriate number of maps, photos and charts to support the text, and he provides a handy list of these figures alongside the table of contents. Most photos and tables are highly effective; the few maps, however, are woefully amateur. For a book that covers so much ground, Steed offers a perfect balance of thoroughness and pace. A compelling history that speaks to the present day and the powers and pitfalls of looking to the past.  


Pub Date: April 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-1456776879

Page Count: 388

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: June 11, 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...


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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