A vivid history of passionate protest.

MAYDAY 1971

A WHITE HOUSE AT WAR, A REVOLT IN THE STREETS, AND THE UNTOLD HISTORY OF AMERICA'S BIGGEST MASS ARREST

A participant in a crucial anti-war demonstration recalls the tension and peril of the moment.

In May 1971, investigative editor Roberts, then a 19-year-old college student, joined in a huge protest against the Vietnam War that resulted in the arrest of more than 12,000 people, the author included. Making his book debut, Roberts offers a perceptive, thoroughly researched accounting of the intense, often divisive movement that led to an event marking 10 years from the time John F. Kennedy sent “a few hundred soldiers and advisers to South Vietnam.” By the time of the protest, more than 2 million Americans had served, and 275,000 still were deployed. Lyndon Johnson expanded the war, costing him the presidency, and Richard Nixon inherited the conflict, advised by his hawkish national security chief, Henry Kissinger. Protests, begun in 1965 with a teach-in at the University of Michigan, had grown year by year. By spring 1971, several organizations worked to strategize for “ambitious antiwar demonstrations”: the People’s Coalition for Peace and Justice, the Mayday Tribe, the National Peace Action Coalition, and Vietnam Veterans Against the War. The Nixon White House, the FBI, and Washington, D.C., police also needed to strategize, confronted with a conglomeration of “1930s-style radicals, back-to-the-land hippies, campus intellectuals, would-be revolutionaries, middle-class liberals, black-power evangelists,” and young radicals known as Yippies. Because the groups had no designated leader, law enforcement agencies found it difficult to keep track of who was who, where they were, and what level of violence they endorsed. Drawing on government and private archives, news articles, and many interviews with participants, Roberts creates a tense, brisk narrative covering 10 weeks that began in March with a bomb explosion in the U.S. Capitol and ended with lawyers’ efforts to free the thousands arrested. He offers sharply drawn portraits of key White House personnel and of many protestors, including Yippies Stew Albert and his girlfriend, Judy Gumbo; activists Rennie Davis and David Dellinger; and John Kerry, a prominent member of VVAW.

A vivid history of passionate protest.

Pub Date: July 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-76672-4

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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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 moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

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WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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