McAuliffe creates an expansive landscape in her examination of a transformative decade.




A vivid chronicle of 10 roiling years in Paris.

Historian McAuliffe (Twilight of the Belle Epoque: The Paris of Picasso, Stravinsky, Proust, Renault, Marie Curie, Gertrude Stein, 2014, etc.) takes up where her last book left off, in 1918, to focus on the city’s cultural life after World War I. What Americans called the Roaring ’20s, the French termed les Années folles, “the Crazy Years,” which the author deems an apt epithet for the “what the hell” attitude that pervaded the city’s upper class. But there was more to life in Paris than “endless parties and late-night jazz clubs.” Organizing the book chronologically, McAuliffe portrays a city bursting with creativity in art, music, dance, fashion, architecture, and literature. Drawing on memoirs, biographies, and the many histories of the period, she follows an abundant and diverse cast of characters, creating brief vignettes about the yearly evolution of their lives and careers. Besides the usual suspects found in any history of the Lost Generation—Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Stein, Picasso, Pound, Man Ray, Kiki of Montparnasse, and Cocteau, to name a few—the author includes politicians (de Gaulle, Clemenceau, Pétain) and innovators in fields other than the arts, such as cosmetics manufacturers Helena Rubinstein and Francois Coty; architect Charles Jeanneret, who became famous as Le Corbusier; Marie Curie; couturiers Paul Poiret and, of course, Coco Chanel; and automotive giants Renault, Peugeot, and Citroën. André Citroën, writes McAuliffe, was determined to be the French Henry Ford; he “was not interested in creating a plaything for the rich. He wanted to make a useful car for the middle class,” the equivalent of Ford’s Model T. Within a year of production, thousands of Citroëns were on the road. By 1925, Citroën was the fourth-largest auto company in the world, “behind only the Americans—Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler.” Fast-paced and richly detailed, the narrative nevertheless reprises many well-known stories.

McAuliffe creates an expansive landscape in her examination of a transformative decade.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4422-5332-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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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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