A well-written, guilt-free treat for devoted royal family-watchers—whose numbers are, of course, legion.

THE QUEEN & DI

THE UNTOLD STORY

A surprisingly fresh addition to the mountain of biographies of the late Princess of Wales—this one focusing on her relations with the Queen.

Seward, a longtime correspondent on matters royal and editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine (and, as it happens, the last journalist to interview Di), has obvious sympathy for the Princess. But she has greater sympathy, it would seem, for the long-suffering Queen Elizabeth II, who came to power in the shadow of scandal, worked for decades to give England a ruler of whom it could be proud—or, at least, not ashamed—and then had to endure the public posturings of her eldest son's petulant, bulimic, and generally uncooperative bride. (To her credit, as the author ably demonstrates, Di was nowhere near as awful as Fergie, who fueled Fleet Street tabloids with her self-serving antics.) Contending with Di (who emerges in these pages as both a confused, troubled soul and an extremely shrewd, self-aware schemer) could not have been very pleasant for the Queen, who was sometimes distant but even shrewder than her daughter-in-law (and, to gauge by Seward's account, a font of patience). Even so, the Queen seems to have acquired a little more humanity in grappling with Di's all-too-human troubles, “excusing her indiscretions, making allowance for her illness, overlooking her outbursts, taking note of her grievances, ignoring the way she tried to claim center stage,” and their 15-year-long association had tangible effects on the way the royal family conducts itself today (its budget downsized, for example, by a populist government that took Di's side in the long struggle for power that only ended with her death in 1997).

A well-written, guilt-free treat for devoted royal family-watchers—whose numbers are, of course, legion.

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-55970-561-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Arcade

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2001

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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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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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