SHERMAN'S HORSEMEN

UNION CAVALRY OPERATIONS IN THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN

A vivid account of the campaign that helped decide the outcome of the Civil War. Evans provides a comprehensive study of the role of the cavalry in Sherman's coordinated assault on Atlanta in 1864, involving three federal armies that swept in from the west through Alabama and Georgia. Those armies left a horrible wake of damage in their path, and they suffered horribly as well. Evans writes of their work with a keen eye for detail, describing the confusion of the battlefield and the bloody aftermath of a cavalry engagement, with ``horses sprawled glassy-eyed and still, the flies already swarming over torn bodies and protruding entrails.'' (He is also capable of humor, recounting the tale, for instance, of a Southern woman who protested that the raiders who had come to her farm couldn't possibly be Yankees because they didn't have horns. ``We are young Yankees, our horns haven't sprouted yet,'' replied a Union soldier.) Along the way Evans provides portraits of individual cavalry officers, like Maj. Gen. George Stoneman, the hard-driving Lt. Col. Fielding James, and the ``capable but unstable'' Brig. Gen. Edward McCook. Evans paints a sympathetic portrait of Sherman, who wrote to his wife during the campaign, ``I begin to regard the death and mangling of a couple thousand men as a small affair,'' and who confessed to a fellow officer, ``Grant don't care a damn for what the enemy does out of his sight, but it scares me like hell!'' Evans notes that Sherman broke with the usual strategic practice of using cavalry to support infantry assaults, instead launching his horsemen on lightning raids against the Southern armies. He also suggests, provocatively, that Sherman might have abandoned the Atlanta campaign after a series of defeats, had the city not surrendered. A rich narrative that will delight students of the Civil War. (39 b&w photos, 15 maps, not seen) (History Book Club main selection)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-253-32963-9

Page Count: 688

Publisher: Indiana Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1996

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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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