Seven sterling essays that assess the nature of Lincoln's leadership as commander in chief. Written by an impressive constellation of historians, including five Pulitzer winners, all the pieces but the one by Boritt (Civil War Studies/Gettysburg College; ed., Why the Confederacy Lost, p. 151) are drawn from lectures given annually at Gettysburg College to commemorate Lincoln's address. As James M. McPherson writes in his perceptive ``Lincoln and the Strategy of Unconditional Surrender,'' Lincoln was ``the only President in our history whose entire administration was bounded by the parameters of war.'' Yet his purpose in prosecuting the Civil War, and the war's implications for his posterity, remains as elusive as other aspects of his contradictory personality. Inevitably, this collection's mainstream perspective on Lincoln is refracted through the prism of more recent, convulsive conflicts, including the civil-rights movement (David Brion Davis's ``The Emancipation Movement''), the Vietnam War (Boritt's ``War Opponent and War President''), and the overthrow of Communism and the flowering of East European nationalism (Kenneth Stampp's ``One Alone? The United States and National Self-Determination''). Arthur Schlesinger's piece comparing Lincoln and FDR as war leaders, while written with his customary grace and political incisiveness, also betrays his tendency to minimize the failings of his heroes. The comprehensive overviews in these pieces, however, especially in Carl Degler's examination of 19th-century national unification movements, inspires deepened appreciation for Lincoln's ``new birth of freedom.'' Particularly for Boritt and Robert Bruce (``The Shadow of the Coming War''), Lincoln emerges as a compellingly paradoxical figure: a hater of violence who refused to back away from the bloodiest war in American history; a practical politician whose resort to emancipation ennobled a gory struggle. First-rate commentary by some of our finest historians on the President tested more than any other by war. (Twenty b&w illustrations.)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-19-507891-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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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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A sleek, vital history that effectively shows how, “from the outset, inequality was enforced with the whip, the gun, and the...


A concise, alternate history of the United States “about how people across the hemisphere wove together antislavery, anticolonial, pro-freedom, and pro-working-class movements against tremendous obstacles.”

In the latest in the publisher’s ReVisioning American History series, Ortiz (History/Univ. of Florida; Emancipation Betrayed: The Hidden History of Black Organizing and White Violence in Florida from Reconstruction to the Bloody Election of 1920, 2005, etc.) examines U.S. history through the lens of African-American and Latinx activists. Much of the American history taught in schools is limited to white America, leaving out the impact of non-European immigrants and indigenous peoples. The author corrects that error in a thorough look at the debt of gratitude we owe to the Haitian Revolution, the Mexican War of Independence, and the Cuban War of Independence, all struggles that helped lead to social democracy. Ortiz shows the history of the workers for what it really was: a fatal intertwining of slavery, racial capitalism, and imperialism. He states that the American Revolution began as a war of independence and became a war to preserve slavery. Thus, slavery is the foundation of American prosperity. With the end of slavery, imperialist America exported segregation laws and labor discrimination abroad. As we moved into Cuba, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico, we stole their land for American corporations and used the Army to enforce draconian labor laws. This continued in the South and in California. The rise of agriculture could not have succeeded without cheap labor. Mexican workers were often preferred because, if they demanded rights, they could just be deported. Convict labor worked even better. The author points out the only way success has been gained is by organizing; a great example was the “Day without Immigrants” in 2006. Of course, as Ortiz rightly notes, much more work is necessary, especially since Jim Crow and Juan Crow are resurging as each political gain is met with “legal” countermeasures.

A sleek, vital history that effectively shows how, “from the outset, inequality was enforced with the whip, the gun, and the United States Constitution.”

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8070-1310-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Beacon

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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