Vivid impressions of the different India a young British journalist (Ochre Border, not reviewed) discovered while working as a writer for an Indian newspaper. Hardy has written one of those travel books that is more a collection of set pieces than a linear trek to a desired destination. Though she describes her time with the eccentric princely family whose apartment she shared in Delhi, her personal life is consistently upstaged by the stories she covers. An experienced journalist long drawn to India, she was inspired by a remark from her London greengrocer to apply for a job at The Indian Express, one of the country’s major dailies. Since she planned to report on the country from the inside, she held out for more substantive assignments when her editor wanted her to cover socialites and celebrities. She goes here to Assam, where tribal natives, seeking independence, wage a reign of terror in the tea gardens; to a remote valley on the Tibetan border where the Dalai Lama taught the local faithful and foreign tourists; and to the Delhi slums, where inspiring former journalist Gautam Vohra has set up education programs and an organic farm project to show villagers they can make a living farming. While researching a series on physical fitness, Hardy both meets a Brahmin pooja practitioner who foretells her future and also realizes that in a country where “spirituality and religious superstition hang about on every street corner,” there is no room for cynicism. Although her tone is light and her affection palpable, her stories reveal the depth of her attachment. Like the British women Kipling described, she has been in “a place so extreme that it sucked away all the smallness that lurked in the Englishness of the English.” India, warts and all, from a clear-eyed visitor who stayed long enough to learn—and still love. (B&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2000

ISBN: 0-7195-6140-X

Page Count: 266

Publisher: John Murray/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1999

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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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