A provocative, complex reexamination of the trail of broken promises marking historical relations between the US and the once- mighty Sioux nation, and the book debut of attorney/historian Lazarus, whose father met with substantial success after representing tribal interests in the federal judiciary for 20-odd years. Succinctly condensing the record of generally violent contact between whites and the Sioux tribes through the 19th century, including the signing of two major treaties in 1868 and 1877, Lazarus's narrative faces its real test in his subsequent treatment of the intricate legal maneuvering that began in the 1920's, as Sioux laments over the loss of their sacred Black Hills became a protracted struggle for rights by law. Through the tireless efforts of Ralph Case—portrayed here as a sympathetic, folksy attorney with romanticized ideas of the judicial process and a drinking problem—a flurry of claims was filed against the federal government on behalf of the Sioux; all were either dismissed or were still pending appeal after decades of litigation. New representation was sought as faith in Case declined in the 1950's, when Arthur Lazarus—a protÇgÇ of Felix Cohen, New Dealer and specialist in Native American law—and his associates were engaged. The ins and outs of 50 years of legal wrangling are the real focus here, with the discussion surprisingly lucid and readable given the technicalities involved. A valuable, well-informed contribution to the legal view of Native American history, despite necessary doubts about the author's impartiality, as when the relationship between his father and the Sioux went sour.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 1991

ISBN: 0-06-016557-X

Page Count: 480

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1991

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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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