A fresh look at a well-worn field of study, appropriate for general readers.

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THE LAST WHITE ROSE

THE SECRET WARS OF THE TUDORS

The Tudors have been written about ad nauseam, but historian Seward (Eugenie: The Empress and Her Empire, 2004, etc.) opens another branch of study harkening back to their beginnings at the Battle of Bosworth of 1485.

The defeat of King Richard III did not eliminate all claimants to the crown. After his victory, Henry VII spent his reign ruthlessly quashing one after another. The genealogical tables at the front of Seward’s book are indispensable for this and any English history, as authors must carefully refer to characters by one name only. For instance, John de la Pole, the Duke of Suffolk, and his sons, John, Earl of Lincoln, and Edmund, Earl of Suffolk, had claim to the crown, and all suffered for it. Choosing a single moniker for each character is preferred, except, of course, that Henry VII and his son, Henry VIII, tended to bestow and take away titles according to whim or worry. The paranoia of Henry VII was actually justified, as the Yorkist family had many eligible candidates, and popular support for restoring their reign was widespread. Challengers found support from Margaret of Burgundy, sister to kings Richard III and Edward IV, the French, who were always ready to stir things up, and the Irish, firmly in the Yorkist camp. By far the most interesting pretender was Richard de la Pole, who was educated at Henry VIII’s expense, created a cardinal by the pope without ordination and considered as a mate for Princess Mary. Henry VIII was pathologically suspicious and saw conspiracies in every shadow, and the cream of England’s aristocracy paid the price. The story of the descendants of the White Rose adds yet another black mark against the first two Tudors, as if they needed more.

A fresh look at a well-worn field of study, appropriate for general readers.

Pub Date: April 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-60598-549-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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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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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

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