It’s hard to imagine a better, more up-to-date history of its subject.

BLOOD AND IRON

THE RISE AND FALL OF THE GERMAN EMPIRE

A concise history of one of the most fateful developments in modern history: the creation of a united Germany from a clutter of smaller existing jurisdictions.

At the center of the first half of Hoyer’s story is Otto von Bismarck. The head of state of the nation created in 1871 after the German states had crushed France in the brief Franco-Prussian War, Bismarck was the driving force behind the governing of Germany until 1890. Born in that conflict under Prussian leadership, a newly united Germany, gradually ridding itself of regional loyalties, built itself into Europe’s most powerful industrial and military power in a mere 40 years. Then, Hoyer argues that because of the failure of Kaiser Wilhelm II and his ministers to prevent his nation’s march toward another war, it suffered the devastating carnage of World War I. While failing to relate the full complexity of that war’s outbreak as other historians now understand it, the author astutely portrays how, by the early 20th century, budding German democracy was sidelined in favor of “a silent dictatorship of the military.” But this superb book isn’t simply about government and war. Hoyer roots the gathering unity of the German states in a “defensive nationalism” caused by the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century and skillfully unveils how nationalism can come into being out of a sense of comparative inferiority. The author covers social, cultural, and religious developments under two Hohenzollern monarchs, especially Bismarck’s path-breaking social legislation of the 1870s and ’80s. She also deftly analyzes the emergence of Germans’ sense, not yet fouled by racial assumptions, of themselves as a distinct people, although her resistance to the argument that Bismarck’s and his successors’ aspirations and achievements led inexorably to the future rise of Hitler will be rejected by some.

It’s hard to imagine a better, more up-to-date history of its subject.

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64313-837-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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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 fond remembrance of a glamorous, bygone era.

MY TRAVELS WITH MRS. KENNEDY

A follow-up to the bestselling Mrs. Kennedy and Me.

Teaming up again with his co-author (now wife) on previous books, Hill, a distinguished former Secret Service agent, remembers his days traveling the world as Jacqueline Kennedy’s trusted bodyguard. After John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, Hill received a medal for valor in protecting the president and his wife, Jackie, from Lee Harvey Oswald’s bullets. Later, the medal vanished along with photos of the author's travels with Mrs. Kennedy as a Secret Service bodyguard. Hill recounts how his search for an old award he never wanted yielded an even greater treasure: forgotten images of his globe-trotting adventures with the first lady. The photographs—some in color, some in black and white—immediately transported the bewitched author back to the glittering heyday of Camelot. Images of Jackie in Paris brought memories of the president’s first major state excursion to France, in 1961, where the otherwise very private first lady was “the center of all attention.” Numerous other diplomatic trips followed—to England, Greece, India, Pakistan, and across South America. Everything Jackie did, from visiting ruined temples to having lunch with Queen Elizabeth, was headline news. Hill dutifully protected her from gawkers and paparazzi not only on public occasions, but also more private ones such as family retreats to the Amalfi Coast and the Kennedys’ country home in Middleburg, Virginia. In three short years, the never-romantic bond between the two deepened to a place “beyond friendship” in which “we could communicate with each other with a look or a nod….She knew that I would do whatever she asked—whether it was part of my job as a Secret Service agent or not.” Replete with unseen private photos and anecdotes of a singular relationship, the book will appeal mostly to American historians but also anyone interested in the private world inhabited by one of the most beguiling but enigmatic first ladies in American history.

A fond remembrance of a glamorous, bygone era.

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-982181-11-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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