A good choice for serious fans of Pacific Northwest and marine history but information overload for mere lovers of all the...

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ORCA

HOW WE CAME TO KNOW AND LOVE THE OCEAN'S GREATEST PREDATOR

The history of Orcinus orca, from its days as both a cultural icon of the Pacific Northwest and a dangerous pest to marine fishermen and whalers to stardom as a performer at marine theme parks.

Environmentalist Colby (History/Univ. of Victoria; The Business of Empire: United Fruit, Race, and U.S. Expansion in Central America, 2011, etc.) reports on one species and concentrates on one brief period of time, in contrast to Nick Pyenson’s Spying on Whales, which looks with a scientist’s eye at whales of all kinds in the distant past, present, and possible future. Colby’s story is also focused on the human relationships with orcas. His history is filled with the names of the men who attempted to capture killer whales, those who met with increasing success, the entrepreneurs who capitalized on whales, and the names of the whales that were caught. Readers will meet Namu, Kandu, Skanda, Taku, Haida, Chimo, and, perhaps the most famous one of all, Shamu (a name given to many after the original). For decades, catching and selling whales was big business, and as captive display animals at places like Sea World, killer whales became public favorites for their spectacular performances and their strikingly handsome black-and-white coloration. Captivity also meant that scientists could study orcas in ways not previously possible. By the 1970s, the environmental movement had become a subject of mainstream politics, and activists took up the issue of whale conservation. The author delves into the conflicts over regulation as protestors tangled with businesses, scientists with fisherman, and fishermen with government officials. Anecdotes abound. The cast of characters is enormous, and readers may find themselves struggling to keep the names straight.

A good choice for serious fans of Pacific Northwest and marine history but information overload for mere lovers of all the Shamus and their ilk.

Pub Date: June 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-19-067309-3

Page Count: 392

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

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...

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 PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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