A wonderful picture of 17th-century England, replete with the excitement of ideas and discoveries and the beginnings of the...




A history of the England that Charles II returned to in 1660 when he was restored to the throne.

As Jordan (co-author: The King's Bed: Ambition and Intimacy in the Court of Charles II, 2016, etc.) shows in a lively history of an eventful period, the changes imposed by Oliver Cromwell and the Commonwealth were mostly erased. Charles wanted nothing to do with the impositions put on the theater, arts, literature, and sciences. When he returned to the throne, his Declaration of Breda set out the terms of the restoration of the monarchy. The restoration agreement didn’t spell out the constitutional arrangement of governance, leaving the way open for Charles to attempt to renew the divine right of the king. The city was ready to throw off Puritan shackles and hoped for a more pro-parliament political stability. More playboy than king, Charles lacked talent in statecraft. It was an age of transformation, and Charles was constantly demanding money to fund his many mistresses and high tastes. This led him and his brother, the Duke of York, into the lucrative slave trade, as well as trade with India, helped along by his wife’s dowry, which included Bombay. It was a desperate time as well. The twin disasters of plague and the great fire destroyed most of the city. The plague took 20 percent of the population, mostly the poor, who had no country houses to offer refuge, and the fire leveled most of London. Given the chance to redesign and rebuild, Christopher Wren, Robert Hooke, and Peter Mills stepped up with plans at the ready. It was also a great time for discovery. The Royal Society was founded and led by scientists like Newton, Locke, Hobbes, and even Margaret Cavendish. It was the end of Medieval London and beginning of a modern city, with Samuel Pepys recording it all in his diary.

A wonderful picture of 17th-century England, replete with the excitement of ideas and discoveries and the beginnings of the empire.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68177-638-5

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: Oct. 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 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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