Readers seeking an entertaining and informative study of the 1968 campaign would do well to start here.

THE CONTEST

THE 1968 ELECTION AND THE WAR FOR AMERICA'S SOUL

A thorough examination of one of the most divisive political campaigns in American history.

In an April 2018 Wall Street Journal article, Pat Buchanan, looking back on his time as an aide to Richard Nixon, wrote that 1968 was “America’s most divisive year since the Civil War had begun.” In his latest book, Schumacher (Dharma Lion: A Biography of Allen Ginsberg, 2016, etc.) depicts that year’s tumultuous presidential campaign as “the culmination of a mighty struggle lasting for at least a decade, beginning with the early civil rights movement and continuing through the Vietnam protests.” The author begins with background information on each of the major players in the campaign: the anti–Vietnam War contender (Eugene McCarthy), the doomed advocate for civil rights (Robert F. Kennedy), the vice president caught between the liberal wing of his party and the administration he loyally served (Hubert H. Humphrey), the wily segregationist with a dying spouse (George Wallace), and the “loser” who successfully rehabilitated his image (Nixon). The yearslong struggle intensified during the campaign, climaxing with the shocking violence in the streets of Chicago during the Democratic National Convention. Ultimately, the violence helped catapult the “law and order” Nixon to victory. Schumacher intersperses this narrative with many intriguing anecdotes, including hapless Republican candidate George Romney’s needing 34 tries to pick up a spare in a New Hampshire bowling alley, a cash-strapped McCarthy campaign selling the lunch leftovers of actor and supporter Paul Newman, and Wallace’s consideration of “Colonel” Harland Sanders (of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame) as his running mate. Overall, the book runs a little long, and some of the candidates—Humphrey and Kennedy in particular—do not come across as well as the author intends. Schumacher also might have provided more context, including Lyndon Johnson’s 1968 nomination of the controversial Abe Fortas as chief justice of the United States.

Readers seeking an entertaining and informative study of the 1968 campaign would do well to start here.

Pub Date: July 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8166-9289-7

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Univ. of Minnesota

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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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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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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