Powerful, important reading.

READ REVIEW

REZ LIFE

AN INDIAN'S JOURNEY THROUGH RESERVATION LIFE

In a book that is part memoir, part journalistic exposé and part cultural history, novelist Treuer (The Translation of Dr. Apelles, 2008, etc.) offers a movingly plainspoken account of reservation life.

The author intertwines stories of growing up on the shores of the Lake Leech Ojibwe reservation in Minnesota with those of the Ojibwe people and other Native American tribes. Treuer writes that “[m]ost often rez life is associated with tragedy”; at the same time, he notes that it is also shot through with pride and a profound love of tradition. Alternating between personal recollections of unforgettable “rez” personalities—e.g., tribal police officers, rice-gatherers and fishermen—and sharp-eyed historical analyses of events in Native American history, the author sheds light on aspects of Indian culture closed to most non-Natives. He speaks candidly about the “comforting trouble” he finds at the heart of his own mixed-race family and the perennial problems of alcoholism, poverty and crime facing reservation dwellers everywhere. Treuer also delves into the issues surrounding Native American sovereignty and treaty rights, examining the inhumane—and sometimes genocidal—government policies that have led to the systematic abuse, exploitation and disenfranchisement of Native Americans. The author soundly critiques tribal governments as well, focusing in particular on the corruption and cronyism that characterizes so many of them. For most of these entities, “there is no balance of power; on the contrary power is very much out of balance.” That Treuer is one of a few Native Americans to have made it out of the “rez” only adds to the book’s poignancy. He examines a culture that is in crisis, but persists, even thrives, with enduring grit and courage.

Powerful, important reading.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8021-1971-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more