THE NAME OF WAR

KING PHILIP'S WAR AND THE ORIGINS OF AMERICAN IDENTITY

A superb study of an all-but-forgotten war that, in the author's view, had a profound effect on Anglo-American perceptions of the Indian. First-time author Lepore (History/Boston Univ.) offers an account of the bloody war in 1675 between English settlers and Algonquian Indians in New England, a ``short, vicious'' conflict that, by proportion of population, ``inflicted greater casualties than any other war in American history.'' Her account is peppered with more than the usual atrocities: Men, women, even children are tortured and murdered, whole cities burned. It is also riddled with mysteries; as Lepore notes, the war began thanks to rumor, an unsolved murder, and pent-up but vague hatreds among peoples who had become more and more like one another. The English, far from home, had adopted Native American customs and cuisine, had stopped attending church, had moved farther and farther inland and away from European settlements. The Indians, for their part, had taken to wearing Western clothes, living in houses, and reading the Bible. With identities thus confused, each side waged a war that the other condemned as brutal and savage, and thousands died in the bargain. Lepore's account of the war has the immediacy of journalism, as well as learned asides about anthropological theories of conflict, the effect of literacy on hitherto preliterate populations, the nature of ethnic strife, and, most important, the memory of King Philip's War in New England. That grim memory, she suggests, tempered later policies of war and removal. The war itself continues to resonate today as Native Americans press their claims for land first lost in the conflict's aftermath. ``In the end, this book is just another story about just another war,'' Lepore writes, with wholly undue modesty. Vivid and thoughtful, it is much more than that, and it holds the promise of much good work to come. (33 illustrations, 2 maps, not seen)

Pub Date: Feb. 3, 1998

ISBN: 0-679-44686-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1998

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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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