A brilliant starting point for truly understanding the Civil War. As the authors point out, there is still much to explore.

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LENS OF WAR

EXPLORING ICONIC PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE CIVIL WAR

A pictorial guide to the changes in our historical views of the Civil War, curated by Gallman (History/Univ. of Florida; Northerners at War, 2010, etc.) and Gallagher (History/Univ. of Virginia; The Union War, 2012, etc.).

Though these iconic photographs of the war were often included in scholarly works, the authors realized that few actually took the time to analyze the pictures themselves. This book opens a new page of considerations of the people, victims and ruins; the home front, slaves, women, guerrillas and “the Destructive War.” Gallman and Gallagher asked a wide network of professors, authors and independent researchers to choose their favorite photo from the Civil War and write an essay about it. The result will awaken new awareness, but the rawness of the war may upset some readers. One author kindly warns animal lovers that his essay about a picture of a dead horse may be tough going. This isn’t just a coffee-table book to pick up randomly, as the authors suggest; it can be read in a few hours, and each essay naturally moves readers on to the next. Though many of these photos have been “staged,” in that bodies were moved or guns and survivors placed to improve composition, that doesn’t reduce their power. These Civil War writers, experts and teachers each explain their reasons for choosing a photo; often, it harkens back to seeing it as a child and using that experience as a launching point for a career. The essays freely challenge the ethics of war photography; one asks, “When is it not all right to take an image of something?” When must we leave death alone? Pictures are natural entrees into imagination, but we must understand the difference between history and memory. Particularly noteworthy contributors include Harold Holzer, Joseph T. Glatthaar and Elizabeth R. Varon.

A brilliant starting point for truly understanding the Civil War. As the authors point out, there is still much to explore.

Pub Date: April 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8203-4810-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Univ. of Georgia

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2015

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 sleek, vital history that effectively shows how, “from the outset, inequality was enforced with the whip, the gun, and the...

AN AFRICAN AMERICAN AND LATINX HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

A concise, alternate history of the United States “about how people across the hemisphere wove together antislavery, anticolonial, pro-freedom, and pro-working-class movements against tremendous obstacles.”

In the latest in the publisher’s ReVisioning American History series, Ortiz (History/Univ. of Florida; Emancipation Betrayed: The Hidden History of Black Organizing and White Violence in Florida from Reconstruction to the Bloody Election of 1920, 2005, etc.) examines U.S. history through the lens of African-American and Latinx activists. Much of the American history taught in schools is limited to white America, leaving out the impact of non-European immigrants and indigenous peoples. The author corrects that error in a thorough look at the debt of gratitude we owe to the Haitian Revolution, the Mexican War of Independence, and the Cuban War of Independence, all struggles that helped lead to social democracy. Ortiz shows the history of the workers for what it really was: a fatal intertwining of slavery, racial capitalism, and imperialism. He states that the American Revolution began as a war of independence and became a war to preserve slavery. Thus, slavery is the foundation of American prosperity. With the end of slavery, imperialist America exported segregation laws and labor discrimination abroad. As we moved into Cuba, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico, we stole their land for American corporations and used the Army to enforce draconian labor laws. This continued in the South and in California. The rise of agriculture could not have succeeded without cheap labor. Mexican workers were often preferred because, if they demanded rights, they could just be deported. Convict labor worked even better. The author points out the only way success has been gained is by organizing; a great example was the “Day without Immigrants” in 2006. Of course, as Ortiz rightly notes, much more work is necessary, especially since Jim Crow and Juan Crow are resurging as each political gain is met with “legal” countermeasures.

A sleek, vital history that effectively shows how, “from the outset, inequality was enforced with the whip, the gun, and the United States Constitution.”

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8070-1310-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Beacon

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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