A hard-hitting study that will surely resonate with ongoing attempts to regenerate the GOP.

TO MAKE MEN FREE

A HISTORY OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY

A new history of the Republican Party as a relentless pull by big-business interests has cast it farther and farther from its noble founding principles.

How did the party of Abraham Lincoln—dedicated to checking the spread of Southern “Slave Power” in the West and to expanding the vision of freedom and opportunity among the larger pool of poor and newly emancipated—become the party of the rich and entitled? Richardson (History/Boston Coll.; Wounded Knee: Party Politics and the Road to an American Massacre, 2010, etc.) makes a bold, pertinent argument that the Republican Party has always been beset by contradictions within its core as a result of the founding tension between the belief in equality of opportunity and the protection of property. She focuses on three presidents who have been true to the original Republican cause—Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower—and three periods following progressive legislation eras that saw a reactionary swerve back to pro-business policies and a resulting economic crash: 1893, 1929 and 2008. The party emerged in reaction to the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, threatening to spread slave power into what Northerners hoped would be a West open to “poor but hardworking, ambitious young men.” Harkening back to Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence, the Republican Party embraced “the first principles of republican government” and broke with “schemes of aristocracy,” namely the concentration of wealth among the upper few. Lincoln’s assassination, followed by Andrew Johnson’s undercutting of Reconstruction, saw the beginning of the reactionary turn back to obstructionism and narrow business interests. Richardson systematically delineates how the “trickle down” economic approach never worked, yet was continually pushed by rogue elements of the party.

A hard-hitting study that will surely resonate with ongoing attempts to regenerate the GOP.

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0465024315

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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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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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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