A detailed examination of the events surrounding the American Revolution, as seen from the other side of the Atlantic. A former European correspondent for several American newspapers, Cook (Forging the Alliance: NATO 19451950, 1989, etc.) has mined the vast literature on the American Revolution to craft a dense, yet highly readable, narrative. Supporting the research of scholars and historians with primary sources in the form of memoirs, contemporary newspapers, letters, and speeches in the English Parliament, the author vividly recreates the diametrically opposed views of the events of 177085, considered a rebellion in Britain, a revolution in the colonies. Essentially a work of diplomatic history, the book also paints colorful profiles of the main characters: Among the most interesting are King George III; the array of ministers assembled around his throne, including William Pitt and Lord North; and Benjamin Franklin, fulfiller of many roles in Philadelphia, London, and Paris. Cook reproduces almost verbatim Franklin's February 13, 1766, testimony before the House of Commons about effects of the notorious 1765 Stamp Act. His comments made it clear that the colonists were strongly resistant to any new taxes being imposed from Britain, and the act was repealed in March. The debates concerning Parliament's constitutional powers over the colonies—Edmund Burke, who favored liberty but not independence for the colonies, declared in the House of Commons that ``a great Empire and little minds go ill together''—are interspersed throughout the text, reminding readers how expressive the English language was in the 18th century. Delineating the political culture of corruption and bribery that pervaded London and disgusted Americans like Franklin, Cook convincingly concludes that the war was lost as much in London as on the colonial battlefields. Illuminating new perspective on an old topic.

Pub Date: July 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-87113-588-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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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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