A slight, affectionate meander through scenes from a County Mayo childhood of the 1930s and early '40s. Luxury was a full stomach in the peaceable parish of Attymass, where the word Protestant was never uttered and ``people made the most of . . . landmarks in our calendar,'' like threshing time. Entertainment was watching nature at work, and Walsh was an appreciative audience—seeing in a mass of spongy fungi the perfect trampoline, or covering her mouth while stealing a peek at eggs in a nest lest her breath betray her presence to the mother bird. She also recollects the impromptu fiddling (``God's concert'') of neighbor Kitty D'Arcy, who quite lost her bearings after being left at the altar, and of course the Mission, a bazaar-like affair with stalls displaying all manner of holy goods, which was simply ``the greatest event in our young lives.'' Weaned on stories of ghosts and fairies, Walsh had her fair share of childhood terrors. There were also corporeal sources of disquiet, including Tom Lynch's mule and the Connor's bull, and the Tinkers (gypsy tinsmiths) who regularly made camp in the district and helped themselves to what they couldn't get by begging. Walsh, the ninth of fourteen in the largest family in Treanoughter, lingers over memories of each of the nine households in the village. Cousin John, visiting from the States, was aghast at the paucity of reading matter in the homes and sent over Colliers, National Geographic, and the Saturday Evening Post—which may account for Walsh's transformation from the enchanted provincial she portrays into an ÇmigrÇ (to Britain, in 1946), and now into an author. A parochial paean to a circumscribed world of folkways that survived long past their time.

Pub Date: March 17, 1997

ISBN: 0-312-15153-5

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1997

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



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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