A delightful journey with excellent sketches, renderings, and resources for museums and organizations.



A fine history of lighthouses, “among the most beloved and romanticized structures in the American landscape.”

The author of other masterly works on key aspects of American history and growth (Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America, 2010, etc.), Dolin here presents a thoughtful, straightforward chronicle of the American lighthouse, from the earliest, completed in 1716 at Little Brewster, in Boston Harbor, as a harbinger of burgeoning Colonial maritime growth, to the death of the last civilian keeper—at the Coney Island Lighthouse—in 2003, Nearly all the biggest cities in the Colonies were ports, and little by little, the harbors at Rhode Island (Beavertail Point), New York (Sandy Hook), and South Carolina (Charleston’s Morris Island) were constructed in quick succession. Wars wreaked havoc on lighthouses, as they became military targets and were often dismantled—e.g., Sandy Hook was seized by the British during the Revolution, becoming a magnet for loyalist refugees; the Key West, Florida, lighthouse, seized by the Union in 1861, provided the Union naval forces lighted guidance through the dangerous south Florida waters during the entire war. Throughout the book, Dolin ties together important strands to the lighthouse story: the federal government took over from the states the building and upkeep of lighthouses with the Lighthouse Act of 1789, indicating the importance of the institution yet also putting the oversight at the “rule of ignorant and incompetent men,” such as the penny-pinching, shortsighted, long-running auditor Stephen Pleasonton. He relied on the old-fashioned “magnifying and reflecting lantern” of Winslow Lewis rather than the state-of-the-art European Fresnel lens (created by French inventor Augustin-Jean Fresnel), adopted finally by all lighthouses through the Lighthouse Board in 1851. Dolin also weaves in the heroic stories of lighthouse keepers (men and women), and along with engineering feats, there are also fantastic tales of kamikaze birds and other instances of wild nature coming up against these man-made structures.

A delightful journey with excellent sketches, renderings, and resources for museums and organizations.

Pub Date: April 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-87140-668-2

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Liveright/Norton

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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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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Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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