A stirring adventure, smoothly recounted.

READ REVIEW

LAST FLAG DOWN

THE EPIC JOURNEY OF THE LAST CONFEDERATE WARSHIP

The story of Confederate raider Shenandoah, which preyed on Yankee shipping in an epic round-the-world voyage.

Baldwin, a descendant of the executive officer who left a detailed log of that voyage, teams with Pulitzer Prize winner Powers (Mark Twain, 2005, etc.) to tell the Shenandoah’s story. While their account covers essentially the same territory as Lynn Schooler’s The Last Shot (2005), they focus on Baldwin’s ancestor, Lieutenant Conway Whittle. In London, Whittle boarded Sea King, a steam-and-sail clipper that had set a record for a passage to China, He sailed to the Madeiras, where he met his fellow officers and Captain James Waddell, evidently a deeply troubled, uncommunicative man who distrusted his subordinates. The ship was renamed Shenandoah, provisioned and armed with cannon and commissioned as a Confederate warship. Her mission: to prey on U.S. commerce and weaken the federals’ ability to wage war. Shenandoah’s crew was recruited from captured ships, choosing service with the C.S.A. over being held prisoner. The authors paint Whittle as a romantic hero of the Old South, obsessed with honor and eager to prevent his native land from falling prey to northern aggression. To that end, the raider attacked merchantmen and whalers from the Atlantic to the Bering Sea, where she captured or sank more than three dozen whalers before Waddell was convinced to cease operations by reports that the war was over. Shenandoah then made her final run back to England, dodging U.S. warships and struggling to keep her crew dedicated to a suddenly pointless mission. Whittle, a southern gentleman to the end, declined a chance to escape from his ship as she lay in the Liverpool docks while British officials decided whether to turn her crew over to U.S. authorities aiming to try them for piracy. In the end, the Brits set them all free.

A stirring adventure, smoothly recounted.

Pub Date: May 15, 2007

ISBN: 0-307-23655-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2007

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

  • National Book Award Winner

  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

more