An elucidating history that is relevant to understanding the geopolitics of Greece today.

THE GREEK REVOLUTION

1821 AND THE MAKING OF MODERN EUROPE

On the bicentennial of the Greek revolution, a prominent scholar tracks the historical detail and enormous international significance of the improbable, largely grassroots uprising against the Ottoman Empire.

Mazower, a Columbia professor and winner of the Wolfson Prize for History who has written extensively about Greece and the Balkans, ably ties together the many disparate threads of this complex history of Greek independence, galvanized by the spirit of nationalism unleashed at the Congress of Vienna in 1814. Though the Ottomans were not present at the talks, the Christian Orthodox entities (Serbs, Greeks, Russians) built solidarity in response to Ottoman “scenes of carnage,” and the Greek question garnered sympathy. However, Mazower emphasizes that as long as the Greeks waited, the czar was not going to come to their defense. Consequently, in Odessa, “some Greeks of very obscure class” formed a Filiki Etaireia (“Society of Friends”) that would prove “the catalyst for Europe’s first successful national revolution,” which began in earnest in 1821. Despite the wildly asymmetrical dimensions of the fight—the sprawling Ottoman Empire of 24 million versus the 3 million or so Greeks scattered throughout, as well as the sultan’s vast wealth, bureaucracy, and military versus the 15,000 to 20,000 fighters the Greeks could motivate—the Greek underdogs managed to wrest “some kind of independence” from the Sultan by 1828, to be determined over the subsequent decades. The Egyptians also joined the fight against the Greeks, but the Greeks were able to win the international war of propaganda—aided by notables such as Byron, Shelley, and Delacroix, who were infatuated by Greek mythology, archaeological discoveries, and Enlightenment thinking. In a narrative that may overwhelm general readers but will prove indispensable to scholars, Mazower underscores that it was largely a provincial struggle, financed by European sympathies and bonded by Christianity. The book features extensive maps and illustrations.

An elucidating history that is relevant to understanding the geopolitics of Greece today.

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-59184-733-5

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 7, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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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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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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