The narrative is mostly engaging, but the author’s overuse of clichés and exclamation points becomes grating.

TEN-GALLON WAR

THE NFL'S COWBOYS, THE AFL'S TEXANS, AND THE FEUD FOR DALLAS'S PRO FOOTBALL FUTURE

The tale of a time when it was unclear if Dallas was big enough for one professional football team, much less two.

Prior to the 1960s, Texas was a football state, and Dallas was a football town, but the high school and college games prevailed in the Lone Star State. Lamar Hunt, Dallas native, scion of an oil baron and a former football player at Southern Methodist University, wanted to bring professional football, which had come and gone in an epic flameout in the early 1950s, to Dallas. However, the National Football League seemed to have little interest in accommodating Hunt, who instead came up with the idea of a new league to challenge the NFL. The American Football League brought a free-wheeling, exciting brand of football to a number of American cities that did not have a professional football team, and to a few that did. Hunt’s new league also allowed him finally to own a team based in Dallas, but his Texans would not, in fact, enjoy a monopoly over the burgeoning city. Once plans for the AFL came to fruition, the NFL chose to expand into the Dallas area with the establishment of the Cowboys, whose owner, Clint Murchison, was another from Texas’ seemingly inexhaustible supply of rich oil men. Veteran sports journalist Eisenberg (That First Season: How Vince Lombardi Took the Worst Team in the NFL and Set It on the Path to Glory, 2009, etc.) tells the story of the competition for fans that the Texans and Cowboys waged through much of the 1960s, until Hunt picked up and left for Kansas City to found the Chiefs.

The narrative is mostly engaging, but the author’s overuse of clichés and exclamation points becomes grating.

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-43550-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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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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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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