A lucid account of the Revolutionary War from the point of view of its most successful general.

NATHANAEL GREENE

A BIOGRAPHY OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

Rhode Island journalist Carbone gives a little-known Revolutionary War leader his due in this admiring biography.

Frequently dubbed Washington’s best general, Nathanael Greene (1742–86) played an active role in the Rhode Island militia during the turbulent years before the revolution. The son of a wealthy businessman, he disliked British taxes as much as the average American merchant. At the outbreak of hostilities in 1775, the state’s General Assembly appointed him commander of Rhode Island’s army. Most of Greene’s military knowledge came from books, but he was a quick learner and a natural leader. Observers at the 1775 siege of Boston noted that the Rhode Island camp stood out for its order and hygiene, as well as the professional deportment of its men. Although historians debate Washington’s military talents, they agree he was a shrewd judge of men; when he arrived to command the colonial forces he quickly approved of Greene, who at 32 became the rebel colonies’ youngest general and Washington’s right-hand man. He participated in most campaigns and was appointed to the Southern Command in 1780. Despite leading a few thousand ragged, unpaid, often unfed troops far less numerous than the enemy, Greene conducted a brilliant campaign, reversing a string of defeats to frustrate Cornwallis’s offensive and lead him to disaster at Yorktown. Receiving little support from the Continental Congress or the states, he pledged his personal fortune to obtain supplies and ended the war with massive debts that burdened him for the three years that remained in his short life. Drawing on Greene’s papers and the usual 18th-century sources, Carbone writes a straightforward biography while touching the traditional historical bases.

A lucid account of the Revolutionary War from the point of view of its most successful general.

Pub Date: July 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-230-60271-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2008

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

more