A solid book of American history that will cause readers to grimace at the fire and fury and perhaps blush with shame for...




A historian revisits the bloody confrontations between American Indians and New England colonists in the mid-17th century, finding much behavior to deplore but one leader to admire.

Daily Beast contributor Warren (Giap: The General Who Defeated America in Vietnam, 2013, etc.) relies heavily (and explicitly) on the previous works of historians of the era, quoting extensively. But he also uses his contemporary viewpoint to analyze conflicts between the natives and the newer arrivals from England. Emerging as a towering figure of tolerance is Roger Williams (1603-1683), the Puritan minister who was determined to understand the local Narragansett and advocate for religious freedom and cultural tolerance. As Warren shows us—after rightly noting that the voices of the Indians are too often silent in the historical record—Williams, after establishing the Rhode Island colony, worked tirelessly on behalf of all; it was only when Puritan expansionism (and rampant lying and greed) grew intolerable that frontier warfare erupted. The fighting ended with predictable results, with mere numbers and superior firepower being the keys. Warren distinguishes himself by trying to understand all the motives of the principal players in this sad, sanguinary drama, but, as he reveals, it was basically the oldest story of all: people who believe their God is the only true one slaughtering those who beg to differ—and arrogating for themselves the losers’ lands and property. There are several simultaneous stories going on, and the author handles them all deftly: Williams (his banishment from Massachusetts, his establishment of Rhode Island), the power of the Massachusetts and Connecticut Puritans, the struggles of the various Indian tribes in the region, the bloody battles, and colonial historiography in general.

A solid book of American history that will cause readers to grimace at the fire and fury and perhaps blush with shame for the suffering and the shamelessness.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-8041-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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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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