A broad survey of the prehistoric cultures of present-day Canada and the US. Pringle, a Canadian museum researcher, has had long experience working in the field, experience that she brings to bear in discussing patterns of trade, settlement, and daily life among ancient cultures as diverse as the little-known fishing peoples of Eel Point, Calif., and the heavily studied mound-building peoples of the Ohio River Valley. As a look at the ways in which archaeologists puzzle out problems—for instance, why a seemingly complicated system of class stratification would take root among the technologically simple Keatley Creek salmon fishers of British Columbia—Pringle's book has several virtues. She is adept at discussing how artifactual evidence is weighed and used, and she provides good coverage of Canada, which receives too little attention in survey texts in archaeology. However, she makes a few simplistic claims on matters that are still wide open to debate, arguing, for instance, that a particular Chaco Canyon dwelling was likely used for ceremonial purposes, when most specialists in Southwestern prehistory are busy dismantling the long-held view that the ancient Anasazi were an overly ritualistic people. (Her statement, too, that ``archaeology is a hard science'' is one most specialists would take issue with.) A larger problem is Pringle's uninspired narrative style, which is not helped by her attempts to provide color (``Rumpled and unshaven, with gold-rimmed glasses, bushy mustache, and long, dark hair combed straight back, the fifty-four-year-old scientist looks every bit the old Yukon hand, a character straight from the pages of Robert Service.'') Purists will object to the lack of coverage of Mexico, which is, of course, part of North America and offers plenty of archaeological problems that would lend themselves to discussion here. (26 b&w photos, 8 pages color photos, not seen)

Pub Date: May 17, 1996

ISBN: 0-471-04237-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Wiley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1996

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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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