THE MARQUIS

LAFAYETTE RECONSIDERED

In a sharp and moving biography, Auricchio captures the essence of the “French hero of the American Revolution—the Hero of...

A new biography of the Marquis, as well as a serious study of the differences between two of the most important revolutions of the millennium.

Gilbert du Motier, aka Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834), is one of America’s great Revolutionary heroes, but Auricchio (Adelaide Labille-Guiard: Artist in the Age of Revolution, 2009) explains the mixed reviews he received during his homeland’s revolution. Though Lafayette was a member of the nobility, as a non-Parisian, he was not readily accepted at court—until he married Adrienne de Noailles, whose family not only opened doors, but also, by their untimely deaths, left him a very rich man. When he heard of the American struggle for freedom, he knew it was his destiny to assist. His wealth and ties to France’s government helped ensure his appointment to the staff of Gen. George Washington. The attachment between him and Washington is well-documented, with the Army’s leader tempering the zeal of the young hothead. The real enlightenment of the man begins with Lafayette’s role in the French Revolution. Here, Auricchio picks up the devotion of the young hero as he was expecting to return to the adulation of his countrymen. His moderation served only to defeat him; even his Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was considered too radical. At first, he was a calming factor, but neither the left nor the right accepted him; he was either too radical or too conservative. France was not a new country like America with a clean slate to build a radical new government; she relied on her traditions and royalty and rejected the idea of constitutional monarchy and, with it, Lafayette.

In a sharp and moving biography, Auricchio captures the essence of the “French hero of the American Revolution—the Hero of Two Worlds, the Apostle of Liberty.”

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0307267559

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

NIGHT

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

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

FROM MEAN STREETS TO WALL STREET

Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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