Comprehensive and compassionate—an essential text of American history and culture.



Holland Times arts critic Gill (American History and Literature/Manhattan School of Music) charts the astonishing transformations, upheavals, revolutions and continual renaissances that have affected the uptown terrain and population for hundreds of years.

In 1609, Henry Hudson glimpsed the Manhattan shoreline and exchanged fire with the local Indians, thus commencing the cultural clashes that continue in the present. The author traces the story of the area from its geological history to the current times of Al Sharpton (who fares poorly here). In the early chapters, Gill summarizes the stories of the Algonquin people and the original Dutch settlers, who laid out their New Haarlem in the mid 17th century. Then the British decided they owned the island, took over and fecklessly renamed New Haarlem “Lancaster,” a name that didn’t last long. The author follows the colonial history, the significance of the region in the American Revolution (Washington won a key victory at Harlem Heights) and the transformations wrought by the New York and Harlem Railroad and commerce (and greed). As Gill notes, Harlem was for many decades a center of recreation for downtowners, featuring plentiful forests and beautiful geological formations. Soon, it was human entertainment—music, drama, dancing, art and the allures of alcohol and assorted illicit behaviors—that became the principal attraction. Mansions rose, and the wealthy partied hard. Then Harlem began to attract a wide assortment of minorities—Latinos, African-Americans, Jews from Eastern Europe, Italians. By the early 19th century, more and more blacks were calling Harlem home, and as the economy cracked, racial fireworks commenced, raged throughout the Civil War and far beyond. As Gill writes, however, the area has long been home to an amazing assortment of talented individuals—politicians (Marcus Garvey), athletes (Lew Alcindor), writers (Langston Hughes), musicians and performers (Paul Robeson), intellectuals (W.E.B. Du Bois) criminals (Casper Holstein).

Comprehensive and compassionate—an essential text of American history and culture.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8021-1910-0

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Grove

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2010

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...


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?


Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet