Just like Revolution on the Hudson, a wonderful addition to the literature on the American Revolution, full of enlightening...

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LEXINGTON AND CONCORD

THE BATTLE HEARD ROUND THE WORLD

A readable history of the first battle of the American Revolution and the militiamen “who risked everything to defend their way of life and the freedom of future generations.”

This is hardly a new story, but Daughan (Revolution on the Hudson: New York City and the Hudson River Valley in the American War of Independence, 2016, etc.) imbues it with added nuances of character and motivation. Though King George III had not yet succumbed to the madness that would beset him in later years, he demanded nothing less than unconditional submission by the Colonies, reimbursement for tea and taxes lost during the Boston Tea Party, and vicious bombardment of coastal towns. The greatest failure of the king and his officials was their impatience in requiring rapid results without supplying sufficient resources. All, notes the author, were equally guilty of presuming that the reputation of British might would immediately frighten the colonists into submission. Nearly every one of Gen. Thomas Gage’s requests was ignored, which was especially surprising given his continuous service in the Colonies since 1755. The strength of the colonists’ militias was impressive; their numbers were considerably larger than any thought possible, while the number of loyalists were much fewer. Even though the standard of living in Massachusetts was high, the militiamen were not merely comfortable gentlemen untrained in warfare. Most were veterans of the French and Indian War and well-versed in organizing an army. While the problems seemed to begin in Boston, officials in London thought the Bostonians would be on their own in confronting the king’s taxes. They couldn’t have been more wrong, as 11 of the 12 other Colonies were quick to back up Massachusetts. As Daughan clearly shows, there were many errors of judgment in Boston, perhaps due to Gage’s fury at being ignored; his heart was not in a fight that he knew he would lose.

Just like Revolution on the Hudson, a wonderful addition to the literature on the American Revolution, full of enlightening facts and figures.

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-393-24574-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

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 PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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