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



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

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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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