Sly, witty, and delightful—a glorious Shakespearean romp.



Knock, knock. Who’s there? Hamlet.

To help celebrate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, Dromgoole (Will & Me: How Shakespeare Took Over My Life, 2006, etc.), the artistic director of the Globe Theatre in London, came up with a fantastical idea: to perform Hamlet in all 204 countries in the world. “With a few detours to avoid war and epidemics,” they did, settling on 197 countries—no North Korea, of course, and for some reason, France passed. This is Dromgoole’s thoroughly enjoyable and charming story of how they did it: “Unprecedented chutzpah and a healthy quantum of stupidity helped launch the mission.” They picked Hamlet because, in the author’s estimation, it is “a unique play in the canon of world drama” and possibly “the strangest and most beautiful play ever written.” Dromgoole tells several stories. Besides detailing the two-year tour itself, it’s a story of the play, its themes and language, famous past players, and how it has been performed and received over the years. He describes how the 12 original players (plus a few others here and there) and four stage managers were chosen. The tour kicked off in London in April 2014 with two performances. Then it was off to the Netherlands. By mid-May, they had 10 performances under their collective belts. In early August in Mexico City, the company was “crumbling like a castle under bombardment.” Players were ill, and the city was “decked out in full Day of the Dead splendor.” Scenes were omitted, but the play must go on. On the island of Palau, the queen demanded a personal fee of $1,500 to use the performance hall. In Cambodia, the play’s poster featured Hamlet holding Yorrick’s skull; the irony was palpable. In Saudi Arabia, it was the “first time that Shakespeare [was] performed with men and women on the stage.” The final performance took place at the Globe in April 2016.

Sly, witty, and delightful—a glorious Shakespearean romp.

Pub Date: April 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8021-2562-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Grove

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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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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