A thoughtful treat for the Lincoln and Civil War crowds.

EXPLORING LINCOLN

GREAT HISTORIANS REAPPRAISE OUR GREATEST PRESIDENT

Noted historians reflect on the life and presidency of Abraham Lincoln.

“Thousands of works have been written about Lincoln, and almost any Lincoln you want can be found in the literature,” writes contributor Eric Foner, and his contention is borne out by these recent papers from the Lincoln Forum, an annual scholarly event. Co-editors Holzer (Lincoln and the Power of the Press, 2014, etc.), Symonds (Neptune: The Allied Invasion of Europe and the D-Day Landings, 2014, etc.) and Williams (Judging Lincoln, 2002, etc.) have gathered authoritative views of Lincoln as a leader whose many facets—military strategist, savvy politician, man of exceptional character, among others—have earned him admiration as our greatest president. Contributors examine Lincoln’s relationships, actions and beliefs; his views on slavery and race; and his deft politicking to win the 1860 presidential campaign. Many papers focus on issues of concern to specialists. Others will have far broader appeal: Michael J. Kline offers a detailed account of the so-called Baltimore Plot to kill the president-elect (and finds no convincing evidence for it); Barnet Schecter traces the complexities of the 1863 New York City Draft Riots, the largest civil insurrection in U.S. history (where emotions over the first federal conscription law and fears over the Emancipation Proclamation exploded in five days of arson, looting and lynching); and Jason Emerson describes his discovery of Mary Lincoln’s long-lost sanitarium letters, which confirm her serious mental illness. John Stauffer tells the fascinating story of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” an anthem that began as an early-19th-century Southern camp meeting spiritual and later became the theme song for Billy Sunday’s revivals. Catherine Clinton’s contribution on mourning is a moving portrait of grieving mothers, many of whom turned to mediums to communicate with the dead.

A thoughtful treat for the Lincoln and Civil War crowds.

Pub Date: March 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8232-6563-3

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Fordham Univ.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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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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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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