CLASSICS AND COMMERCIALS - A LITERARY CHRONICLE OF THE FORTIES

From the New Yorker, the Nation, New Republic and other periodicals, this collects between covers some 67 critical articles. Among the "Commercials", Douglas' The Bromfield's What Became of Anna and Anya Seton's The Turquoise are scored; and in the same vein are three articles attacking the current mystery field which has no candidates to rival the classics- Poe and Doyle. The "Classics" include reappraisals of Jane Austen, Thackeray, Edith Wharton, Tolstoy, Swift, etc., etc. and among the moderns there are James Joyce, Evelyn Waugh, Sartre, Beerbohn, Faulkner, Dali- the superficial "California school" (Steinbeck, Cain and Saroyan) and the delightful recent rediscovery- Ronald Firbank. The isolated, olympian superiority, the tendency to evaluate by standards which are at times inappropriate (this is for example true in his attitude toward detective fiction), has on occasion aggravated a -shall we say- simpler reading public. But there is no question that, within his limitations, which are highly intellectual in taste and expectations, Wilson is an interesting if demanding critic.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 1950

ISBN: 1406759112

Page Count: 546

Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Co

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1950

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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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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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