A lovingly written book that should appeal to most city dwellers and all tree lovers.




A comprehensive look at the trees of American cities.

Though Jonnes’ (Eiffel's Tower: And the World's Fair Where Buffalo Bill Beguiled Paris, the Artists Quarreled, and Thomas Edison Became a Count, 2009, etc.) title may not pique great interest, this book deserves it; indeed, no one who has loved a single tree will be able to set it aside. Scientific without being tedious and political only in the sense of our responsibility to and respect for nature (or lack thereof), the narrative is sure to fascinate nature lovers and natural scientists alike. In her study of who brought new species from distant lands and, more importantly, shared them with such prolific collectors as Thomas Jefferson and William Hamilton, she traces the important scientific studies from Colonial times to the present. Tree lovers through history are as varied as the trees—e.g., the 18-year-old student who founded TreePeople in the early 1970s or John Hansel, the director of the Elm Research Institute. In quantifying the healthful effects of trees on the human environment, scientists have measured actual energy and dollar savings, as trees absorb rainwater and often save sewers from overflowing. They also affect air quality, save energy, cool temperatures, and absorb surface runoff. Jonnes diligently follows the work in large cities, especially Sacramento, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago, where the Climate Project established that “trees should be regarded as essential green infrastructure.” Unfortunately, the useful scientific information went mostly to waste when politicians lost interest. Equally interesting, and certainly frightening, is the author’s coverage of significant threats to trees, including Dutch elm disease and the emerald ash borer. The damage by these blights has become so bad that clear-cutting is often the only way to control it. Thankfully, important work has been done to improve better strains that withstand the attacks, but the effects have been widespread, and replacement plantings are insufficient.

A lovingly written book that should appeal to most city dwellers and all tree lovers.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-670-01566-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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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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