Rapport’s in-depth research into these three cities at war is significant, the similarities and differences making the story...




A history of the age of revolution in the Atlantic world’s three largest cities.

Throughout this eye-opening comparative history, Rapport (History/Univ. of Glasgow; Nineteenth-Century Europe, 2005, etc.) effectively explores “how groups and individuals lived through the revolutionary upheaval with all its anxieties, its stirring visions of the possible, its wrenching fear, its abject despair and seething hatred. The key point is that revolution is a human experience in all its exhilaration, terror and squalor.” The author ably captures this experience, following the rise of the populace, those who were newly literate and learning from pamphlets and fliers now readily available due to the expansion of printers. They gathered in urban locales like pubs, taverns, and public meeting spaces across New York, Paris, and London, and they were alike in the blooming of suppressed anger. While London did not suffer a true revolution, the anger and demands for rights were still there. Rapport spots the differences in England’s economic segregation and the strength of her loyalists, but there’s a great deal more to it. All three cities were reeling under the costs of the Seven Years’ War. France was literally broke, and England looked to her colonies to refill her coffers, resulting in the Stamp Act, the Tea Act, the Intolerables Act, and other tariffs that aroused the ire of the colonists. Though the cities couldn’t be more different—in their topography, geography, culture, and class distinctions—the author points to the differences in a manner that allows readers to see how they did what they had to do to arrive at similar conclusions. The French had no history of free assembly, nor an elected legislature, not to mention few constitutional safeguards. One must wonder if the wide economic differences and suppressions led to the vast differences in the levels of violence.

Rapport’s in-depth research into these three cities at war is significant, the similarities and differences making the story all the more fascinating.

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-465-02228-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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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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