Fascinating reading with abundant illustrations. Romer’s long experience and practical, fresh outlook bring this...




The first volume of a necessarily lengthy history of ancient Egypt from a well-known archaeologist.

Romer’s (The Great Pyramid: Ancient Egypt Revisited, 2007) explanation of the earliest years of Egyptian civilization is impressive in the amount of information gleaned from a minimum of evidence. He begins 2,500 years before the pyramids as we know them appeared. The first recognizable community of the Neolithic Revolution gathered in Lake Faiyum in 5000 B.C. Though agriculture was in its beginning stages, the people used grain storage bins and moved the herds seasonally for grazing. The author debunks thousands of years of miscategorization of the Egyptian culture based on information reliant on ancient biblical and Pharaonic writings. Many writers only got one view of affairs, ignoring the advancement of the populace, and tended to see development in terms of their own civilization rather than that of the geographic, religious terms of the Nilotic environment. Romer points out that the best indicators of the changing civilization turn out to be its pottery. From the very earliest times, inhabitants made containers for cooking and eating. The changes in the shapes and, especially, in the decoration and glazes of their pots indicate the broadening of their development. Every discovery near the Nile contains some pottery that is accurately dated according to William Petrie’s Sequence Dating Chart, a simple classification system developed in the 1890s and corroborated by carbon dating. The Nile River was the driving factor in all aspects of life, from channeling the annual inundation to the riverization that fostered the beginnings of commerce.

Fascinating reading with abundant illustrations. Romer’s long experience and practical, fresh outlook bring this civilization to life.

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-250-03011-5

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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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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A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

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A sharp explanation of how American politics has become so discordant.

Journalist Klein, co-founder of Vox, formerly of the Washington Post, MSNBC, and Bloomberg, reminds readers that political commentators in the 1950s and ’60s denounced Republicans and Democrats as “tweedledum and tweedledee.” With liberals and conservatives in both parties, they complained, voters lacked a true choice. The author suspects that race played a role, and he capably shows us why and how. For a century after the Civil War, former Confederate states, obsessed with keeping blacks powerless, elected a congressional bloc that “kept the Democratic party less liberal than it otherwise would’ve been, the Republican Party congressionally weaker than it otherwise would’ve been, and stopped the parties from sorting themselves around the deepest political cleavage of the age.” Following the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, many white Southern Democrats became Republicans, and the parties turned consistently liberal and conservative. Given a “true choice,” Klein maintains, voters discarded ideology in favor of “identity politics.” Americans, like all humans, cherish their “tribe” and distrust outsiders. Identity was once a preoccupation of minorities, but it has recently attracted white activists and poisoned the national discourse. The author deplores the decline of mass media (network TV, daily newspapers), which could not offend a large audience, and the rise of niche media and internet sites, which tell a small audience only what they want to hear. American observers often joke about European nations that have many parties who vote in lock step. In fact, such parties cooperate to pass legislation. America is the sole system with only two parties, both of which are convinced that the other is not only incompetent (a traditional accusation), but a danger to the nation. So far, calls for drastic action to prevent the apocalypse are confined to social media, fringe activists, and the rhetoric of Trump supporters. Fortunately—according to Klein—Trump is lazy, but future presidents may be more savvy. The author does not conclude this deeply insightful, if dispiriting, analysis by proposing a solution.

A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4767-0032-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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