A dense, comparative tome that should act as a challenge to students of Spanish.




In a studious, occasionally turgid work, accomplished British biographer Treglown (V.S. Pritchett, 2004, etc.) explores the legacy of Francisco Franco in monument and art.

As the Spanish continue to reckon with, reclaim and sift through the buried wreckage—physical and emotional—of the Spanish Civil War, the author, who lives part of the year on a finca and speaks Spanish, was moved to find out more about Franco’s influence on modern culture. The extraordinarily long tenure of the generalissimo means that anyone living in Spain today between the ages of 40 and mid-70s was born during Franco’s rule; he continues to arouse strong feelings on both sides, by people disgusted by his ruthlessness and repression and by others grateful for what they deem his ability to keep order and build massive public works. Treglown traces some of the efforts by victims’ families to excavate mass graves (the 2007 Law of Historical Memory requires the government to assist victims and “to remove memorials to Franco’s dictatorship”), such as the search for poet Garcia Lorca’s grave, although most victims were not famous and were dumped in mass, unmarked graves. However, monuments to the Falange (fascists) still abound—e.g., the annual celebration at Valle de los Caídos, orchestrated by Franco’s own daughter. While the conventional view among (European) intellectuals is that the true artists fled Spain during the Franco era, many did not, and Treglown delves into the rich, subversive literature and culture of film since the war. This is a tricky, detailed book, maneuvering between public collections and private values, but the author’s deep study of the artists involved is remarkable and inspiring.

A dense, comparative tome that should act as a challenge to students of Spanish.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-374-10842-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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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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