The perfect fireside guide to the ages-old desire to find something hidden, perilous, and fabulous.




Glorious adventure—in the library, on foot, and in the mind—in pursuit of gold hidden deep in the jungle.

Far in the Ecuadorian highlands, legend has it, lies a hoard of gold, silver, and gems accumulated as ransom to save the life of the Inca’s last ruler, Atahualpa. After his execution, the treasure was hidden away in a cave—and not just any old cave, but one lost in the punched and crumpled Andes, home of bogs and bugs, freezing white fog, skewering bamboo, endless rain, bears and lions. Guidebooks and maps, though cryptic and contradictory, claimed to offer sightings of this wealth, and occasional artifacts (which may or may not have been the fruits of the hoard) suggested there was at least a glint of truth to it all. While researching malaria (The Fever Trail, 2002), British journalist and historian Honigsbaum heard tell of the treasure and set out to gather all the information he could concerning its whereabouts. His enthralling work begins with sleuthing in the archives, then moves on to make contact with various characters (shady and otherwise) who have had loot on their minds for years, while also tracing a history of the various expeditions launched to recover the trove. Essaying the Sherlock Holmes style, Honigsbaum tries to decipher the more arcane clues: “ ‘Look for a cross and 4 to L,’ I translated. ‘Yes, but not only that. He said one of the sailors had also mentioned something about a sleeping woman.’ ” He even indulges in a bit of gratifying skullduggery (“first I had to convince him that I wasn’t there to wheedle information out of him, which of course I was”) before launching his own expedition on a shoestring . . . and unearthing little more than a bootlace.

The perfect fireside guide to the ages-old desire to find something hidden, perilous, and fabulous.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-374-19170-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2004

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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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