This glimpse inside the reality of life for current Native Americans will intrigue but also appall in its depiction of their plight. Monroe, a Lakota and Cheyenne, offers his autobiography with the help of Reyer (English and Women's Studies/West Virginia Univ.; Cante Ohitka, not reviewed). He shares childhood memories of his grandfather, who toured with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, and of his many other relations. Monroe was born on the reservation in South Dakota but raised off it, and educated in Catholic mission schools, as his father moved frequently to find work. In the early 1940s, Monroe enlisted in the Army to get away from the racism he experienced in Alliance, Nebr. In the service, he felt an acceptance he had never known before, and Monroe says that had he not been wounded in Korea, he probably would have made a career in the military. Instead, he wound up back in Alliance, where he couldn't even get a drink in the American Legion hall. Drinking, in fact, a problem that afflicted other members of his family as well, began to occupy much of his life. Later, a recovering alcoholic, Monroe worked with other Native alcoholics; he also fought back against racism, first by running for public office and later by founding the American Indian Council, an organization that provides a variety of social and professional services to the Native community. At a time when most Americans don't realize that over 66% of Indians live off the reservation, this book is a powerful witness. Written in simple, direct language and told at a sometimes slow, methodical, pace, it will reward patient readers with an illuminating look into what it means to be a member of America's Native minority.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1994

ISBN: 1-56639-234-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Temple Univ. Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1994

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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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