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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 18

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

  • National Book Award Winner

  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

more