A novel and wide-ranging examination of the conclusion of the war once solemnly declared to be the one to end all wars.

PEACE AT LAST

A PORTRAIT OF ARMISTICE DAY, 11 NOVEMBER 1918

World War I began with an assassin’s bullet in Sarajevo. How did it end? This vigorous study offers answers.

The war part of WWI has been thoroughly documented. But what of the peace part in this centennial year? Cuthbertson (English Literature/Liverpool Hope Univ.; Wilfred Owen, 2014, etc.) follows an intriguing premise, examining how people greeted the armistice of Nov. 11, 1918, and the inevitable question, “Is it peace at last?” As to the latter, there were plenty of doubts, for the end of the war really was an armistice, with a peace treaty that came only a year later. Still, writes Cuthbertson, many Europeans took it as a sign that the slaughter had come to an end. As he tours nations and battlefronts, the author turns up varied reactions: Upon learning the news, Prussian officers held as prisoners in England grumpily refused to play their morning soccer game, while the great folklorist and anthropologist James G. Frazer, observing the exultant bonfires lit in London, thought back to the bacchanalian revels of ancient Rome: “Anyone who knew his work could have seen the world of The Golden Bough come to life.” And people were still dying as the Spanish flu raged around the world, killing as many as died in battle. The question of whether the end of the war really constituted a victory for the Allies was a nagging one indeed, for no sooner did the war end than a revolution began in Germany that would eventually give birth to yet another war. Meanwhile, British and American forces were off to a different front, fighting the Bolsheviks in Russia. As Cuthbertson sagely observes, “during the Cold War, Nikita Khrushchev would remind the USA that while Russia had never invaded America, America had once invaded Russia." Naturally, the author concludes in that matter, “capitalism made the most of the Armistice as an opportunity to make money.”

A novel and wide-ranging examination of the conclusion of the war once solemnly declared to be the one to end all wars.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-300-23338-4

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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?

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 13

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

more