Skillfully captured in a voice at once dazzled with innocence and composed in its maturity, Maynard’s memoir is an elegant...



A charming, transporting story of an altogether horrifying event—the Japanese invasion and occupation of the Philippines during WWII—as seen through the fresh eyes of a young girl who survived the experience.

Maynard’s father was the manager of a gold mine (the Mindanao Mother Lode) in the Philippines when the Japanese overran the islands in 1942. The family fled to a more remote gold mining camp to await developments, and spent the next two years there, with occasional dashes into the jungle to avoid Japanese patrols. Maynard recounts those days as she experienced them as an eight-year-old, a new life infinitely more fascinating than her old one, in which danger lurked but never overwhelmed her curiosity or carefree spirit, coming to know her hideaway home “as only a child an know a place, and I loved it.” On the other hand, she includes excerpts from her mother’s diary for a touch of balance: “I try not to waken in the night because that’s when worries become unmanageable,” or the stark “I’m filled with terror.” Her father is a stiff and chilly individual; given charge of the retreat camp, “he quickly became unpopular and was regarded as a rigid authoritarian.” Fortunately, he does not dominate Maynard’s days, which are told here with an easy confidence. Hers had been a privileged life before the invasion (upon learning the servants would not be going with them, she wondered “who’ll wash our clothes and who’ll cook for us and polish the floors?”) but she easily adjusted, rapt in her new world of civets and snakes, guerrilla warfare, insects that look like vegetables, overeager boyfriends, new Filipino friends, and, surely, the submarine ride away to safety.

Skillfully captured in a voice at once dazzled with innocence and composed in its maturity, Maynard’s memoir is an elegant little time-traveler.

Pub Date: July 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-58574-261-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Lyons Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2001

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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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