An all-too-short, manylayered tale that succeeds as a roots memoir, detective story, and revelation of tragically tangled...




An American ethnographer's journal of a 1930 sojourn with a band of renegade Apaches living in Mexico's Sierra Madre mountains, published now for the first time, along with his son's account of travels in his father's footsteps.

Grenville Goodwin, the author of two scholarly studies of Apache Indians, died in 1940 at the age of 33 while his wife was still pregnant with their son, Neil. The young Neil was to grow up obsessed with his father's adventures, but it was not until 1962 that Neil's mother would dust off a journal of Grenville's explorations that had been packed away in an attic. To an admiring son whose imagination was fired with visions of his unknown father’s travels among the Indians, it was a treasure trove—and an itinerary. Between 1978 and 1999, Neil (now a documentary filmmaker with a wife and son) made six trips to Arizona and Mexico, then spliced his own diary with his father's, creating a parallax view of his father and the people he studied. Called the Ndendaa'i (``the People who Make Trouble'') by the Apaches on American reservations, this loose band of mixedbreed Indians refused to surrender with Geronimo in 1886 and survived in later years by raiding settlers and kidnapping children (whom they subsequently raised as Apaches). Grenville, born into a wealthy Connecticut family, came west to cure his tuberculosis and began to study native Americans at the University of Arizona when he heard that a punitive expedition was being organized to wipe out the mountain renegades. Hoping to study the group before it was wiped out, Grenville found their encampments, lived briefly among them, and learned some of their language. Half-a-century later, Neil found some of these encampments, fleshed out his father's studies, and gained insights into his father's restless character.

An all-too-short, manylayered tale that succeeds as a roots memoir, detective story, and revelation of tragically tangled bloodlines.

Pub Date: May 10, 2000

ISBN: 0-8032-2175-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Univ. of Nebraska

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2000

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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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Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.


An engaging, casual history of librarians and libraries and a famous one that burned down.

In her latest, New Yorker staff writer Orlean (Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, 2011, etc.) seeks to “tell about a place I love that doesn’t belong to me but feels like it is mine.” It’s the story of the Los Angeles Public Library, poet Charles Bukowski’s “wondrous place,” and what happened to it on April 29, 1986: It burned down. The fire raged “for more than seven hours and reached temperatures of 2000 degrees…more than one million books were burned or damaged.” Though nobody was killed, 22 people were injured, and it took more than 3 million gallons of water to put it out. One of the firefighters on the scene said, “We thought we were looking at the bowels of hell….It was surreal.” Besides telling the story of the historic library and its destruction, the author recounts the intense arson investigation and provides an in-depth biography of the troubled young man who was arrested for starting it, actor Harry Peak. Orlean reminds us that library fires have been around since the Library of Alexandria; during World War II, “the Nazis alone destroyed an estimated hundred million books.” She continues, “destroying a culture’s books is sentencing it to something worse than death: It is sentencing it to seem as if it never happened.” The author also examines the library’s important role in the city since 1872 and the construction of the historic Goodhue Building in 1926. Orlean visited the current library and talked to many of the librarians, learning about their jobs and responsibilities, how libraries were a “solace in the Depression,” and the ongoing problems librarians face dealing with the homeless. The author speculates about Peak’s guilt but remains “confounded.” Maybe it was just an accident after all.

Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4018-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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