A gripping narrative and wonderfully entertaining reading.

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THE HIGH ROAD TO CHINA

GEORGE BOGLE, THE PANCHEN LAMA, AND THE FIRST BRITISH EXPEDITION TO TIBET

A detailed account of British envoy George Bogle’s historic excursion to Tibet in the late-18th century.

In 1774, the East India Company sent a young Scottish envoy named George Bogle to Tibet on a fact-finding mission, instructing him to determine whether a trade route could be opened up between China and India. Teltscher draws on the journals and letters Bogle wrote, forming a compelling picture of his time in the country. What makes Bogle’s recollections so fascinating is that many of them bare very little relation to the job he was sent to undertake, instead focusing on the mannerisms, customs and wide-eyed innocence of the locals he encountered on his travels. Naturally, these locals were similarly intrigued and beguiled by Bogle, and he noted his uneasiness at being a “Specimen of my Countrymen” as the journey unwound. Teltscher (India Inscribed, 1997, etc.) details the month-long trek to the Panchen Lama’s residence in Dechenrujbe. She then pores over the finer points of the meetings between the two. The author clearly has a proclivity for the lighthearted exchanges between Bogle and his exalted company, noting that their conversations took in an eclectic array of subjects, such as crocodiles, watches and binoculars. As Bogle’s time in Tibet stretched from months to years, the author notes his adoption of many of the country’s customs—such as his love for wearing Siberian fox skins—and this behavior further endeared him to the Lama, who appeared to bestow enormous affection on the Scotsman. Sadly, Bogle’s dream of traveling with the Lama to meet Emperor Qianlong in 1780 was not realized due to his inability to obtain a passport, and so Teltscher brings her account to a close with a Bogle-less account of the journey and subsequent meeting between the two.

A gripping narrative and wonderfully entertaining reading.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2007

ISBN: 0-374-21700-9

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2006

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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 PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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