Art lovers, Renaissance junkies and even travelers will love this book, which brings these two geniuses to vivid life and...

THE LOST BATTLES

LEONARDO, MICHELANGELO, AND THE ARTISTIC DUEL THAT DEFINED THE RENAISSANCE

Guardian art critic Jones rejoices in revealing the talents of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo and the challenge of deciding who was the true master.

Competition was fundamental to the culture of brilliance in Renaissance Florence, driving creativity and innovation. The contest between Ghiberti and Brunelleschi to create the bronze doors of the Baptistery is a case in point; the author firmly states that the committee was correct in its choice of Ghiberti, leaving Brunelleschi to his dome. There is a wealth of information about da Vinci and Michelangelo, and Jones skillfully harvests the best, amusing with his delightful asides and enlightening with his erudite opinions. As Giorgio Vasari declared, da Vinci was the first great artist of the period who defined nature, perspective and technical mastery, while Michelangelo was its ultimate genius. The story focuses on two commissions to decorate the Great Council Hall of the Palazzo Vecchio, with each artist painting an opposite wall. Jones deftly analyzes their talents and personalities. The preening da Vinci launched theories and works of art but seemed only to enjoy the journey, as he often failed to complete his works. His interests constantly distracted him from his tasks. Michelangelo, on the other hand, was an emotional, fiery poet constantly seeking a cause for his anger. While da Vinci was a master of dissection and produced brilliant drawings, Michelangelo presented the human body as an idyllic landscape. Even as they appeared to be at odds, each often used ideas from the other, like Leonardo’s bastions of Piombino, which Michelangelo copied for Florence.

Art lovers, Renaissance junkies and even travelers will love this book, which brings these two geniuses to vivid life and teaches how easy it is to love art.

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-59475-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 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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A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

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WHY WE'RE POLARIZED

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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