THE WARRIOR'S HONOR

ETHNIC WAR AND THE MODERN CONSCIENCE

A prominent commentator on nationalism and ethnic violence reflects on the destructive power of ethnic warfare and the redemptive potential of modern universal human-rights culture. How can we reconcile two simultaneous trends: increasing globalization (via mass media and international agencies such as the UN, the Red Cross, and Amnesty International) and the persistent chaos of ethnic warfare abroad and racial disintegration at home? Ignatieff (Blood and Belonging, 1994, etc.) poses this difficult question and suggests some tough answers in his new collection of essays. The Warrior's Honor addresses specific situations and issues, but Ignatieff's overriding concerns are the ethics and morality of world citizenship. His purpose in pulling together these essays is to ``plumb the moral connections'' created by the recent invention of human-rights culture. Appropriately, he opens with a piece on the ethics of television, which has broken down untold barriers but has also made us ``voyeurs of the suffering of others.'' Elsewhere he examines, through the prism of Serb-Croat animosities, how nationalism is a kind of narcissism by which the self is glorified and the other is devalued. Individual essays on accompanying Boutros-Ghali's 1995 African tour and on the Red Cross in the age of modern ethnic warfare attest to the concrete hindrances to moral intervention. Ignatieff seeks inspiration from an assortment of thinkers, from Freud and Adorno to observers of nationalism and current conflicts such as David Rieff and Timothy Garton Ash, and, finally, to the novelists Joyce and Conrad. As all these essays have appeared in different or partial form elsewhere, many readers will not be surprised by the collection. They will, however, note that Ignatieff has gathered the essays together as a coherent whole that speaks with optimism tempered by the objectivity gained from his firsthand experiences in the field. A Joycean call for awakening from the ``twilight of myth and collective illusion'' that is nationalism.

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 1998

ISBN: 0-8050-5518-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 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...

NIGHT

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.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

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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