An absorbing account of a quarter century of conflict: the Apache resistance to the ``White Eye'' settlers encroaching on their Arizona lands. Clashes between US troops and Apaches broke out in 1861, but it was only after the Civil War that the army turned its attention fully to these skirmishes in the Southwest. Roberts (Jean Stafford: A Biography, 1988, etc.) sifts through contradictory memoirs and letters from the two sides to present a balanced version of why peace in the region was continually shattered—and why the outnumbered Apache were continually able to drive white settlers to hysteria. Complaints about Indian atrocities were sometimes valid, Roberts explains, but the Apache chief Cochise was often accused of crimes that he couldn't have committed. Meanwhile, the Apaches felt betrayed when agreements with troops were cavalierly broken by Indian land agents. Roberts's narrative is considerably enhanced by its briskly written portraits—including those of the fierce, and fiercely honest, Cochise; of General George Crook, the army's best Indian fighter, who found the key to ending the Apaches' flight (to catch an Apache, use Apache scouts); of John Clum, an Indian land agent whom the Apaches nicknamed ``Turkey Gobbler'' for his arrogance; Lozen, the woman warrior who could equal any man in riding and shooting; and Juh, the chief afflicted with a terrible stutter but gifted with military genius. And, above all, there is the presence of Geronimo, vengeful, untrustworthy, and vacillating, but also capable of leading a band of 34 men, women, and children that, before it surrendered in 1886, managed to elude five thousand American troops and another three thousand Mexican soldiers. Geronimo rightly feared the fate in store for his people: They were deported on sealed railroad cars to Florida, where they remained POWs for 27 years, never to see their homelands again. A history that never loses its sense of drama even as it separates myth from truth. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs—not seen)

Pub Date: July 7, 1993

ISBN: 0-671-70221-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1993

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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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Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.


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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