A gripping narrative and wonderfully entertaining reading.



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...


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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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.



Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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