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

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 Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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