Aly delivers again, this time expanding his lens outside of Germany to offer further revelations about the Holocaust.

EUROPE AGAINST THE JEWS, 1880-1945

The award-winning German author dips into his vast archive of resources to produce a major work on anti-Semitism.

Anti-Semitism has been around for centuries. Though occasionally somewhat dormant, usually during times of fiscal strength and political peace, it always returns to rear its ugly head, each time spelling disaster for Jewish populations. Aly—the highly respected historian of the Holocaust who won the 2007 Jewish Book Award for his excellent Hitler's Beneficiaries—examines the period of 1880 to 1945 to show how, why, and in what forms anti-Semitism increased sufficiently to support the Nazi concept of the Final Solution. The author ranges widely across Europe, examining Russia, Romania, France, and Greece as well as Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, and other less-explored locales. “There is no way we can comprehend the pace and extent of the Holocaust,” writes Aly, “if we restrict our focus to the German centers of command.” While Jews were restricted from many jobs, they applied all their strength and determination to areas that were permitted, such as pharmacology, medicine, and journalism. Governmental actions began with bans on Jews serving municipalities and joining trade associations, and they also experienced limited access to education. After World War I, the concept of self-determination morphed into a brand of nationalism and misguided “racial theory” that led to increased animosity and violence. “Insofar as gentiles in the first half of the twentieth century pressed for Jews to be partially or completely stripped of their civil rights or insisted they be shipped off to somewhere outside Europe,” writes the author, “they were motivated by [an] obsessive anxiety: the fear of a supposedly overwhelming power and the real intellectual and economic agility of a small, precisely delineable ‘foreign’ group.” Though the gruesome subject and detail are sometimes tough to swallow, readers should forge ahead, relishing the author’s incredible research and singular scholarship.

Aly delivers again, this time expanding his lens outside of Germany to offer further revelations about the Holocaust.

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-17017-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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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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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

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