TO SEE A PROMISED LAND

AMERICANS AND THE HOLY LAND IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY

Drawing on the experience of American tourists, missionaries, settlers, scholars, and diplomats, Vogel (a senior staff member of the Library of Congress) imaginatively reconstructs how Americans of the last century saw the Holy Land, why they went and what they did there, and their legacy. ``Geopiety,'' a term coined by geographer John Kirtland Wright, explains the motivations of those Protestants who undertook pilgrimages to a neglected part of the declining Ottoman Empire, seeking the sacred associations, the revival of faith, the sense of religious mission that they had absorbed from the Bible and had expressed in the two extraordinary American artifacts with which Vogel begins and ends his text: a reproduction of the Holy Land in Chautauqua, New York, in 1874 and another of the Temple Mount at the 1904 World's Fair, in St. Louis. The first tour to the Holy Land, ``The Quaker City Cruise'' of 1867, included Mark Twain—who noted the pilgrims' delight in the luxurious tents and comforts and their disappointment at the unimposing appearance of Jerusalem. Such tours caused extreme anguish for the consulates who had to arrange them, protect the safety of visiting Americans, and still conduct commercial business at what they viewed as an undesirable diplomatic post. Missionaries to the Holy Land mostly set up schools, while settlers, led by various ``prophets,'' set up agrarian communities where they intended to wait for the apocalypse. Archaeologists, poorly equipped and as destructive as the tourists, contributed to the assortment of intrusive and eccentric emissaries who indirectly—as Vogel subtly explains—set the stage for the political battleground that was to follow. Vogel brings light and civility to the conflicting attitudes Americans still have toward the Holy Land, and to the religious and political passions it inspires. (Illustrations)

Pub Date: June 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-271-00884-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1993

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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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