A swift-moving, colorful account of the bewildering array of fiercely independent ethnic groups within an uneasy Chinese...

THE EMPEROR FAR AWAY

TRAVELS AT THE EDGE OF CHINA

A history/travelogue of the far-reaching Chinese frontiers that share more with the cultures of central Asia than with the Han majority.

Xinjiang, Tibet, Yunnan, Dongbei: These are the border regions of China that contain its 55 officially recognized ethnic minorities (about 100 million people) yet are increasingly being populated and overruled by the Han. Sunday Telegraph Beijing correspondent Eimer synthesizes his trips into these nether regions since the 1980s, when he first ventured to Xinjiang, the region of the Muslim Uighurs in the far west, bordering Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Mongolia, among other countries. The journey west across the ancient Silk Road still takes days on a train, but there are many more Han moving westward in what the author sees as a new “colonizing” fever. They have not been particularly welcome among the natives, who often don’t even speak Chinese and “regard the Han as interlopers.” Indeed, there continue to be spontaneous uprisings against them, and the Uighurs and other minorities largely keep a wary distance from the Han, and vice versa—unlike the more harmonious mixing of ethnic groups in nearby Kazakhstan. From Kashgar, Eimer moved south through the Silk Road stops of Yarkant and Hotan, where he sensed strongly the Chinese Communist Party’s strenuous efforts to suppress the Uighurs’ religious expression. Then he traveled into mountainous, exotic Tibet, where simply possessing a picture of the Dalai Lama can lead to arrest and Buddhists pilgrims continue to flock despite severe CCP repression. In the deep south of Yunnan Province, heart of the Golden Triangle, the author traveled along the porous, jungle borders of Myanmar and Laos. Eimer also explored Dongbei, which makes up the northeast border near Mongolia, Russia and North Korea and contains many Koreans and Manchus of all stripes (even Christian).

A swift-moving, colorful account of the bewildering array of fiercely independent ethnic groups within an uneasy Chinese “home.”

Pub Date: July 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62040-363-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 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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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

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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