A knowledgeable, elegant account full of elaborate depictions, complete with a thorough bibliography.

IGNITING THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1773-1775

A descriptive account of the people (both rebel and loyalist) and events that propelled the great rupture with Britain.

The period between the Boston Tea Party of December 1773 and the long siege of Boston in 1775 frames this finely delineated history of the buildup to revolution. Former Air Force officer and debut author Beck evidently relishes his subject, and he gives a fully fleshed portrait of the major patriots, both American and British. Dumping the tea in Boston Harbor was an act of destruction of private property, a notion no less sacred to the Americans than their liberty, and though many condemned the vandalism, the resistance to the tea duty had grown among the public as another instance of Parliament trying to “force-feed America a tax it had never consented to.” Fearful of the mob mentality that seemed to be brewing, Gen. Thomas Gage recommended to King George III that regiments earmarked for New York to keep order in Boston would be sufficient to render the Americans docile: they were “Lyons, whilst we are lambs,” he wrote. Little did he know the machinations already put in place by these “sly, artful, hypocritical rascalls [sic],” wrote Gen. Lord Percy of the rebels. Indeed, as Beck moves through the increasing lawlessness of the colonists, he points out the “ugly but very real side” to the American Revolution: “the American rebel seemed at times to take on the role of villain, turning the British into the victim.” The author explores the top-down intelligence network of Gage versus the grass-roots organization of the rebels, each effective in its own way. Beck’s description of the “spreading flames of rebellion” and the taking of the forts at Crown Point and Ticonderoga is as engaging as fiction.

A knowledgeable, elegant account full of elaborate depictions, complete with a thorough bibliography.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4926-1395-4

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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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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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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