A great historical resource about a mysterious people that also shows how women, through the ages, have gathered strength...



Man (Saladin: The Life, The Legend and the Islamic Empire, 2015, etc.) debunks the ancient myths and legendary nonsense surrounding a race of women warriors.

The so-called Amazons left no pottery or jewelry and certainly no settlement that could be excavated. However, there are tombs yielding immense treasures and information, particularly in Tuva, now a semi-autonomous region of Russian. This was the heartland of the Scythians, the people most likely to have produced the Amazons. The region boasts a wide assortment of burial mounds, and the kurgans, or tombs, are evidence of the violent lives lived by the women—and the men—over some 1,500 years (roughly 1000 B.C.E. to 500 C.E.). There absolutely were women warriors who rode horses and fought like men, but the author smoothly and efficiently debunks the many myths associated with them—e.g., the killing of male children or the removal of a girl’s right breast to facilitate the shooting of a bow. It was mainly the Greeks who proliferated the myths about this fierce race of women; in fact, they were obsessed with them. It was a fashion in art to follow mythology, and the Amazons served as a cautionary tale, the symbol of a danger to family and state. Add in xenophobia, and they were the ultimate threat. As the Greeks saw it, it took real heroes, like Achilles, and help from the gods to defeat these warriors, adding to Greek glory. Due to Greek influence, the Amazons were lodged in Europe’s consciousness, advanced by exploration in the new world of South America (a tribe just over the next mountain…), and set in place by novels, Wonder Woman, and other elements of pop culture. “Wonder Woman is even more Amazonian that the Amazons of Greek legend,” writes the author. “[She] is not about to be defeated or bedded, even by superheroes.”

A great historical resource about a mysterious people that also shows how women, through the ages, have gathered strength from each other and continue to do so today.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68177-675-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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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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