Top-notch environmental writing to shelve alongside George Perkins Marsh, Aldo Leopold, Robert Marshall and Barry Lopez.




Former National Park Service ranger Heacox (John Muir and the Ice that Started a Fire: How a Visionary and the Glaciers of Alaska Changed America, 2014, etc.) lyrically recounts his passionate and enduring relationship with Alaska’s Denali National Park, a chunk of Alaskan land the size of Massachusetts with only one road.

Established in 1917, Mount McKinley National Park is also known by its Athabaskan name of Denali, and Heacox first experienced it in 1981 while working as an interpretive ranger for the Park Service. The author builds his narrative, which spans 35 years, on his deep and personal exploration of the sacredness of wild places, especially Denali, and why these landscapes are so necessary to all humans and animals in today’s crowded, noisy world. Heacox deftly traverses a multitude of topics, including his happy childhood spent roaming the Northwest, the influence of music, especially the Beatles, during his teenage years, and the natural and human histories of the park. As the narrative unfolds, the author acknowledges his predecessors, environmental writers such as John Muir, Edward Abbey and Bill McKibben, while also touching on current environmental issues and climate change. Though Heacox voices strong opinions on land use and bemoans America’s consumer culture, his tone is never shrill or self-righteous. Rather, by recounting the stories of the explorers, scientists, government officials, historians, tourists, climbers and park employees whose lives have been touched by Denali, Heacox skillfully reveals the many benefits of this grand open space, as well as its fragility. The park’s wildlife—moose, eagles, red fox, sandhill cranes, grizzly bears, porcupines and wolves—share the stage with human actors in Heacox’s chronicle.

Top-notch environmental writing to shelve alongside George Perkins Marsh, Aldo Leopold, Robert Marshall and Barry Lopez.

Pub Date: May 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4930-0389-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Lyons Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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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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