The adventurous life of one of Lee’s dashing lieutenants, a man who distinguished himself in the Mexican War as a cavalry officer and in the Civil War as Stonewall Jackson’s “right arm.” Pfanz, a Civil War historian, portrays a man of strong character, brave, generous, and a fighting soldier, albeit seen as eccentric, profane, and testy by his subordinates. He was often feared more than admired. Ewell’s brilliant victories at Front Royal and Winchester under Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley brought him early fame and swift promotion to lieutenant general. He succeeded to command of the Second Corps after Jackson’s death, becoming the third-highest ranking officer in the Confederate Army, after Lee and Longstreet. Ewell’s reputation continued to grow in the Seven Days battles outside Richmond and at Cedar Mountain. After losing a leg in battle, Pfanz notes, Ewell, strongly influenced by the charismatic Jackson’s deep religious beliefs, accepted Christianity. He married an old flame, and both events were viewed by some of his fellow officers as having a negative effect on his fighting spirit. Ewell was criticized by Lee after the disastrous defeat at Gettysburg. Pfanz’s research finds that Ewell, although failing to attack Cemetery Ridge, did in fact do his best to follow Lee’s ambiguous orders. Though removed from high command, Ewell later performed brilliantly in the Battle of the Wilderness, a feat largely ignored by historians. A shrewd, highly readable, and exhaustively researched account that restores Ewell’s reputation as a skilled commander and one who stubbornly gave his all for the Lost Cause. (photos, not seen)

Pub Date: April 27, 1998

ISBN: 0-8078-2389-9

Page Count: 672

Publisher: Univ. of North Carolina

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1998

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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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