This lightweight book is all about the dog, and, though more entertaining than the allegorical ALDD might be, it remains...




Yet another trickle in the constant flood of Lincolniana, this book reports on the qualities of the quadruped that filled the job of Lincoln family dog.

It is an old publishing yarn that the most salable books deal with the 16th president, medical practitioners or dogs. To guarantee a best-seller, title a book “Abraham Lincoln’s Doctor’s Dog" or, in the trade, ALDD. Reporter and pop historian Algeo (Pedestrianism: When Watching People Walk Was America's Favorite Spectator Sport, 2014, etc.) eschews the services of the doctor but tracks the dog’s life from the day in 1855 when Lincoln picked him up on a street in Springfield. The future president had engaged in hunting as a boy, but he soon gave up the practice. He was, it seems, an animal lover, while Mary Lincoln, on the other hand, had a bit of canine phobia. The lucky dog, no longer prey to dog catchers, was named Fido and became the prototype of all subsequent faithful Fidos, ministering to his master’s bouts of melancholy and frolicking with the Lincoln boys. Algeo reports on Honest Abe’s whiskers as well as his milking and marketing chores, and he notes how Lincoln bought medicine for Fido even as he ruminated about slavery. The author reintroduces us to a familiar cast of supporting players: good friend Josh Speed, Billy the Barber and law partner Bill Herndon. When it became apparent his master would run for president, “Fido’s carefree life would be forever changed,” and the 1860 campaign “would be sheer misery for Fido.” The dog remained in Springfield when the family moved to the White House. Not long after his former master was assassinated, Fido was killed by a knife-wielding drunk.

This lightweight book is all about the dog, and, though more entertaining than the allegorical ALDD might be, it remains Lincoln-lite.

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-55652-222-2

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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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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