A vigorous, well-written book that distills a complex history to a clash between two men without oversimplifying.

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BLOOD MOON

AN AMERICAN EPIC OF WAR AND SPLENDOR IN THE CHEROKEE NATION

“To the Cherokee, balance was everything”: a broad-ranging history of a political rivalry that upset the Cherokee world for more than a century across the face of North America.

Veteran journalist and author Sedgwick (War of Two: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and the Duel that Stunned the Nation, 2015, etc.) dispels any notion that the Native American world was either monolithic or pacific. In the absence of other powers, tribes and alliances of tribes fought for land and influence, and in their presence, they became blunt-force instruments. During the events that led to the War of 1812, for example, Andrew Jackson was successful in co-opting the Cherokee nation to fight the Red Sticks, Creek Indians who had aligned with Tecumseh’s pan-Indian rebellion. Of one leader, Sedgwick writes, “to The Ridge and other enlightened Cherokee, America was their future. Any identification with their fellow Indians was long past.” Given the rank of major, which he would use as part of his name thenceforth, The Ridge advanced the career of a Scottish-sired young man named John Ross, a non–Cherokee speaking member of the nation, who quickly positioned himself as a rival. Both became rich and politically powerful through trade with the Americans, but the Cherokee were poorly repaid for remaining loyal to the young United States: They were effectively given the choice of moving as a nation to Oklahoma or living as Americans in their southeastern homeland. On that question, Ross and Ridge divided again. “Stay or go left no room for compromise,” writes the author. “No words from John Ross or any of the Ridges could ever bridge the gap.” That division persisted: Followers of both parties would contend on issues thereafter, from joining the Confederacy during the Civil War (Gen. Stand Watie, the Confederate cavalry legend, was a follower of Ridge’s) to questions of national sovereignty after the war.

A vigorous, well-written book that distills a complex history to a clash between two men without oversimplifying.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2871-4

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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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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Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.

THE LIBRARY BOOK

An engaging, casual history of librarians and libraries and a famous one that burned down.

In her latest, New Yorker staff writer Orlean (Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, 2011, etc.) seeks to “tell about a place I love that doesn’t belong to me but feels like it is mine.” It’s the story of the Los Angeles Public Library, poet Charles Bukowski’s “wondrous place,” and what happened to it on April 29, 1986: It burned down. The fire raged “for more than seven hours and reached temperatures of 2000 degrees…more than one million books were burned or damaged.” Though nobody was killed, 22 people were injured, and it took more than 3 million gallons of water to put it out. One of the firefighters on the scene said, “We thought we were looking at the bowels of hell….It was surreal.” Besides telling the story of the historic library and its destruction, the author recounts the intense arson investigation and provides an in-depth biography of the troubled young man who was arrested for starting it, actor Harry Peak. Orlean reminds us that library fires have been around since the Library of Alexandria; during World War II, “the Nazis alone destroyed an estimated hundred million books.” She continues, “destroying a culture’s books is sentencing it to something worse than death: It is sentencing it to seem as if it never happened.” The author also examines the library’s important role in the city since 1872 and the construction of the historic Goodhue Building in 1926. Orlean visited the current library and talked to many of the librarians, learning about their jobs and responsibilities, how libraries were a “solace in the Depression,” and the ongoing problems librarians face dealing with the homeless. The author speculates about Peak’s guilt but remains “confounded.” Maybe it was just an accident after all.

Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4018-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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