In 1991, Fein, a documentary producer/screenwriter, traveled to the Southwest to research a TV series on contemporary American Indians. Here, in an honest, often wide-eyed account of the land and its diverse peoples, she chronicles her year of discovery. From an initial disappointment with her Indian cowriter, who professed to be too busy to work with her, to persistent difficulty in stifling an inquisitiveness considered offensive in the native Pueblo culture, Fein has her share of obstacles to overcome, but she and husband Paul quickly adjust to a world far from the self- promoting, gossipy one they left behind. Any invitation to visit with an Indian family invariably leads to others, with Fein's success in gaining acceptance acknowledged when she's invited to take part in an Apache puberty ceremony. Frequent trips to various Pueblos for Feast Days and less formal occasions give firsthand knowledge of contemporary Indian problems and achievements—an education enhanced by exploring ruins, petroglyph sites, and other evidence of the region's heritage. One excursion leads to an encounter with a Hispanic man guarding petroglyphs on his land; he agrees to sponsor a ``petroglyph party'' to bring together previously segregated native and Hispanic communities—an effort to reconcile differences and hostilities that have lasted for centuries. The process of uniting others enables Fein to better cope with her own fears, allowing her to return home fulfilled and with renewed purpose. Overly confessional and, at times, too focused on day-to-day details, but, still—with its appealing, steady warmth and sympathy for human foibles—a lively study of personal growth and cultural exchange.

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 1993

ISBN: 0-671-79576-7

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1993

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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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