THE LONG FUSE

HOW ENGLAND LOST THE AMERICAN COLONIES, 1760-1785

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made it clear that the colonists were strongly resistant to any new taxes being imposed from Britain, and the act was repealed in March.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...

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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