Moorhouse is a crackerjack travel writer and storyteller, and he has impeccable timing: Sydney will host the 27th Olympiad...



A keen tour of Sydney, Australia—streetwise and savvy, both culturally and historically—from Moorhouse (Sun Dancing, 1997, etc.).

The town named Sydney may have risen where the first convict ships from Britain hove into the glorious natural harbor, but the aboriginal population was there well ahead of them. Moorhouse begins his story with the Aborigines, by way of their Dreaming and artwork and their precarious survival, disavowing anything more than the briefest of introductions but delivering a respectful measure more. Taking the role of observer—though he is more than happy to sample the city’s food and beverages and skim the waters of Tank Stream and the harbor—Moorhouse’s sedate and ever-so melancholy voice moves on to touch all over Sydney’s history and landscape. He recounts the sorry years of the town as a penal colony, the joys of its Botanic Gardens; he delves into institutionalized racism and the bullying of the church in secular life. He takes readers on a slow ramble through the remnants of a gracefully proportioned cityscape that early learned to separate home and industry and put the emphasis on greenery, which only recently and with unfortunate results has “taken a back seat to the needs of capital” in the form of tacky high-rise financial buildings. He explains the importance of cricket and horse racing, the theater and opera and the public library. But most of all he sings the praises of the city’s fine, safe harbor. It is a waterscape that has smitten Moorhouse, a shimmering world that is the final reference point to the land that surrounds it, a working harbor that is still a valued presence when many cities have come to shun their watery origins.

Moorhouse is a crackerjack travel writer and storyteller, and he has impeccable timing: Sydney will host the 27th Olympiad this summer, which ought to spur plenty of interest in the city.

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-15-100601-6

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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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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