THE FORTIES

FROM NOTEBOOKS & DIARIES OF THE PERIOD

To an even greater degree than previous volumes of Wilson's notebook/diaries, this third installment is largely taken up with travel/reporter notes for future books and journalism: here he is visiting end-of-the-war Italy and Greece, postwar Haiti and the Zuni—and editor Edel scrupulously indicates, sequence by sequence, the sources of passages in Europe Without Baedeker and Red, Black, Blond and Olive. Disappointingly, however, there are only a couple of pages of notes for The Wound and the Bow. And there are fewer personal ruminations than before: ten pages of political "Thoughts," 1943-1944 ("Soon the globe will be known and a bore"); elaborate erotic descriptions of his courtship of fourth wife Elena; a touching visit to old-flame Edna Millay (some of which went into The Shores of Light); the funeral of John Dos Passos' wife Katy, killed in a car accident; and a visit to the home of an old Princeton friend—where nothing is quite what it seems. ("I went over to look at something which I fancied was a rare book in a glass case—it turned out to be a cheap green boys' book in a small empty aquarium.") Still, students of Wilson's oeuvre will, as always, find illuminating notes-into-essay clues here, as well as a few jottings re an unfinished novel; and the travel material includes offbeat run-ins with such contemporaries as George Santayana, Evelyn Waugh, and Felix Frankfurter—who told EW in 1949, at Tanglewood, that he approved of Hecate County.

Pub Date: April 28, 1983

ISBN: 0374518351

Page Count: 418

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1983

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more