The crystal-clear message of this thoroughly researched and impressively documented book is that white supremacy remains a...




A fresh look at “the story of grassroots resistance to racial equality undertaken by white women” who “took central roles in disciplining their communities according to Jim Crow’s rules.”

For McRae (History/Western Carolina Univ.), whose dissertation and essay in the 2005 anthology Massive Resistance: Southern Opposition to the Second Reconstruction mark her long interest in the subject, the story centers on four politically active women: Nell Battle Lewis from North Carolina, Mary Dawson Cain and Florence Sillers Ogden from Mississippi, and Cornelia Dabney Tucker from South Carolina. They were part of a large network of like-minded white women stretching across the South and even to California and Massachusetts. Throughout the book, McRae amply shows the determination and skill of these women in shaping resistance to racial equality through their efforts in social welfare, education, electoral politics, and popular culture. Black-and-white photographs, documents, and excerpts of their writings create a powerful picture of these segregationists at work. (No selections, however, appear from Ogden’s newspaper column, “Dis an Dat,” written in black dialect as a reminder of the social order she aimed to preserve.) Although the author is a scholar, her writing is free from pedantry and filled with details that will prove eye-opening for many readers. As she notes, female segregationists were the “crucial workforce” of the white supremacy movement, shaping ideas about sex, marriage, motherhood, culture, and education. McRae takes readers from the 1920s, through World War II, the reaction to the Brown v. Board of Education decision, the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and on to the present day, illuminating the connection between white supremacy and the anti-communist crusade of the Cold War, opposition to the United Nations, and the larger conservative political movement.

The crystal-clear message of this thoroughly researched and impressively documented book is that white supremacy remains a powerful force in the United States.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-19-027171-8

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 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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Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.


An engaging, casual history of librarians and libraries and a famous one that burned down.

In her latest, New Yorker staff writer Orlean (Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, 2011, etc.) seeks to “tell about a place I love that doesn’t belong to me but feels like it is mine.” It’s the story of the Los Angeles Public Library, poet Charles Bukowski’s “wondrous place,” and what happened to it on April 29, 1986: It burned down. The fire raged “for more than seven hours and reached temperatures of 2000 degrees…more than one million books were burned or damaged.” Though nobody was killed, 22 people were injured, and it took more than 3 million gallons of water to put it out. One of the firefighters on the scene said, “We thought we were looking at the bowels of hell….It was surreal.” Besides telling the story of the historic library and its destruction, the author recounts the intense arson investigation and provides an in-depth biography of the troubled young man who was arrested for starting it, actor Harry Peak. Orlean reminds us that library fires have been around since the Library of Alexandria; during World War II, “the Nazis alone destroyed an estimated hundred million books.” She continues, “destroying a culture’s books is sentencing it to something worse than death: It is sentencing it to seem as if it never happened.” The author also examines the library’s important role in the city since 1872 and the construction of the historic Goodhue Building in 1926. Orlean visited the current library and talked to many of the librarians, learning about their jobs and responsibilities, how libraries were a “solace in the Depression,” and the ongoing problems librarians face dealing with the homeless. The author speculates about Peak’s guilt but remains “confounded.” Maybe it was just an accident after all.

Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4018-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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