As a vest-pocket history, this one likely won’t be beat anytime soon.

THOR

THE VIKING GOD OF THUNDER

From the Myths and Legends series

If this book is any indication of the quality of this new series, readers are in for a treat.

Thor, the Norse god of storms and thunder, looms large, particularly among the Vikings and along the whole sweep of North Atlantic islands west to Iceland. He is mentioned in numerous accounts, from pagan religions and the early Icelandic sagas known as the Eddas and onward to superhero stardom. What makes Davis’ retelling of the Thor story so gratifying and edifying is his willingness to delve into this vast literature and exhume the prize nuggets. He squares them to history—on Odin as the father of Thor: “this may be a later addition intended to bring Norse mythology into line with the classical Greek and Roman model”—as well as other literature. Thor emerges as an enthralling figure, brought out of the pagan world and stripped of his everyday importance as Christianity spread through Scandinavia. This is not to say that Davis avoids the great battles Thor has been said to have engaged in, from one with a woman who was revealed as the personification of old age to those against monsters of every ilk, and these make for rousing, intelligent reading. Illustrations include copious material from archives as well as dramatic, full-color paintings.

As a vest-pocket history, this one likely won’t be beat anytime soon. (Mythology. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-78200-075-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Osprey Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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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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ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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