An impressive informational effort about a nearly forgotten figure in American history.


John Morin Scott and Whig Politics in New York 1752-1769

Dunkak’s debut biography intricately documents the career of a revolutionary yet obscure American historical figure, lawyer John Morin Scott.

The relatively unknown Scott helped shape the early American political scene in the late 1700s. Born into a wealthy family, Scott attended Yale University and there managed to make friends with several influential people who sparked his interest in politics. He later had a major role in developing the important New York educational institution Kings College, which became Columbia University. Scott also became a key figure in the Whig Club of New York, an extension of the political Whig movement in England. This biography looks at several eras of Scott’s life and career, including his childhood, his legal career, his success during the provincial elections, his role in a controversy surrounding the salaries and tenures of Court of Appeals judges, and his Revolutionary War years. Scott, along with other leading lawyers, fought to make sure that religious dissenters of that time would receive equal treatment and recognizance under the law. Although the historical record doesn’t contain a wealth of information about John Morin Scott’s early years, Dunkak attempts to document his life to the best of his ability, and, overall, delivers a well-researched and scholarly biography. He thoroughly backs up every piece of information, no matter how seemingly insignificant, with supporting evidence and highly detailed footnotes. In particular, Dunkak explains the political schema with maturity and tact. Although the book can be a bit verbose at times, it’s an astute, intelligent reflection on Morin’s life and era.

An impressive informational effort about a nearly forgotten figure in American history.

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2012

ISBN: 978-1478144397

Page Count: 218

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 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...


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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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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