A fantastic book that finally assigns Kinsale its rightful place in history.




Journalist Ekin (The Stolen Village: Baltimore and the Barbary Pirates, 2006, etc.) chronicles the 1601 siege of Kinsale, 100 days that changed history.

The author’s gift for deep, comprehensive historical study and his ability to keep characters fresh in readers’ minds bring this battle between Spain’s best general and Queen Elizabeth’s favorite, Charles Blount, to the awareness it has been denied. Ekin succeeds in uncovering the truth about Irish perfidy, the lack of Spanish support, and the English attempt to control Ireland. King Felipe III (Philip to the English) wanted to control the English accession upon the death of Elizabeth. He hoped to establish the Spanish in Ireland, ready to invade with the help of the Catholic lords. Even with all his wealth from American silver, Felipe was broke, thus leaving his invasion armada poorly equipped. When Juan del Águila landed on the south coast, a result of adverse winds, Kinsale capitulated immediately. He expected insurgent leaders, the Earl of Desmond and Florence MacCarthy, to link up and provide food, men, and horses, followed by the northern lords Hugh O’Neill and Red Hugh O’Donnell. Unfortunately, the first two were prisoners in the Tower of London thanks to a spy in their midst, and the northerners took months to arrive. Del Águila was one of Spain’s finest fighters, and, facing a lack of support from his country, a couple of clerics trying to run the show, and a better-manned enemy, he almost pulled it off. The author explains the terrain, battles, siege construction, and weaponry well enough to please any military historian, but the real prizes here are the author’s discussions of the effect of the battle on Spain as its empire died and England’s colonies grew, the end of Spain’s religious wars, the shift of power in England, and the cataclysm as Gaelic Ireland declined and died.

A fantastic book that finally assigns Kinsale its rightful place in history.

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-60598-944-0

Page Count: 424

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 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...


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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