Writing this book must have been the dream of a lifetime for Pitts, and he has risen to the occasion. Highly recommended.




When an archaeological expedition found one of England’s most maligned kings in an urban parking lot, it was a worldwide sensation. Here’s the complete story.

British Archaeology editor Pitts begins with a quick summary of Richard III’s reign and his death at the battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. He had been king only two years, a temporary victor in the Wars of the Roses. But after his defeat, Richard became one of history’s villains, notably in Shakespeare’s play bearing his name. However, not everyone bought the image of the evil Richard. In 2010, aspiring screenwriter Philippa Langley (whose The King’s Grave also examines the discovery of the site) called Richard Buckley of the University of Leicester archaeology department. She had a simple proposition: The Richard III Society wanted to help finance a search for the king’s body, believed to be buried in Leicester. Buckley didn’t think anyone could find the lost body, but he wanted to explore the area of the city where the body might be found. When the dig, which took place in a parking lot, turned up a skeleton the first day, it still seemed next to impossible that it could be Richard. Only upon closer examination did the team recognize the twisted spine that history had attributed to the king, as well as other important details. Pitts details the events leading up to the discovery and describes the scientific examination of the skeleton. Chemical analysis of the bones, study of the wounds the victim had sustained and reconstruction of the facial appearance of the victim—all supported the hypothesis that it was indeed Richard. DNA evidence clinched the case. The archaeological world was stunned. Pitts calls the find the most amazing since the excavation of King Tut’s tomb in 1924, and he effectively conveys the excitement of the discovery, clearly and vividly describing the process and the personalities.

Writing this book must have been the dream of a lifetime for Pitts, and he has risen to the occasion. Highly recommended.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-500-25200-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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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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A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

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A sharp explanation of how American politics has become so discordant.

Journalist Klein, co-founder of Vox, formerly of the Washington Post, MSNBC, and Bloomberg, reminds readers that political commentators in the 1950s and ’60s denounced Republicans and Democrats as “tweedledum and tweedledee.” With liberals and conservatives in both parties, they complained, voters lacked a true choice. The author suspects that race played a role, and he capably shows us why and how. For a century after the Civil War, former Confederate states, obsessed with keeping blacks powerless, elected a congressional bloc that “kept the Democratic party less liberal than it otherwise would’ve been, the Republican Party congressionally weaker than it otherwise would’ve been, and stopped the parties from sorting themselves around the deepest political cleavage of the age.” Following the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, many white Southern Democrats became Republicans, and the parties turned consistently liberal and conservative. Given a “true choice,” Klein maintains, voters discarded ideology in favor of “identity politics.” Americans, like all humans, cherish their “tribe” and distrust outsiders. Identity was once a preoccupation of minorities, but it has recently attracted white activists and poisoned the national discourse. The author deplores the decline of mass media (network TV, daily newspapers), which could not offend a large audience, and the rise of niche media and internet sites, which tell a small audience only what they want to hear. American observers often joke about European nations that have many parties who vote in lock step. In fact, such parties cooperate to pass legislation. America is the sole system with only two parties, both of which are convinced that the other is not only incompetent (a traditional accusation), but a danger to the nation. So far, calls for drastic action to prevent the apocalypse are confined to social media, fringe activists, and the rhetoric of Trump supporters. Fortunately—according to Klein—Trump is lazy, but future presidents may be more savvy. The author does not conclude this deeply insightful, if dispiriting, analysis by proposing a solution.

A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4767-0032-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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