A lush, labor-of-love appreciation of maritime California.




A broad, insightful exploration of the Golden State’s pristine coastline and its social and ecological impact on the nation.

Award-winning journalist and environmental documentarian Helvarg (Saved By the Sea: A Love Story with Fish, 2010, etc.) incorporates his work as an ocean conservationist into this examination of the California coast. There’s a distinct passion evident in the author’s language as he writes about his home state, a populous land boasting more than 1,000 miles of “urban ocean and hidden wilderness coves, precipitous coastal cliffs, sea stacks and wild beaches.” Conveyed through interviews with commercial fishermen and scientists and excursions up and down the coast, Helvarg enthusiastically probes the heritage of California’s coastal tribes, its whaling and surfing legacies, and its vital symbiosis with the U.S. Navy—a fact, he writes, that many Southern Californians overlook. The author’s research included early morning excursions aboard marine container ships, diving boats and underwater exploratory science vessels, and he accompanied the San Diego Coast Guard’s nightly migrant patrol to scan for smugglers. Helvarg avoids debating the more usurious aspects of the California lifestyle in favor of praising its “biological richness and diversity, a hallmark of its coast and climate.” The author creates a detailed, handsome history lesson annotated with authoritative commentary on waterside conservation and preservation and climate awareness. In a cautionary final chapter, Helvarg warns of rising sea levels, a genuine ecological menace threatening the beauty and significance of California’s coastal landscapes.

A lush, labor-of-love appreciation of maritime California.

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-66496-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 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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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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