A fascinating, little-known history on the evolution of an iconic city whose destiny was forever altered by a group of...

THE BATTLE FOR BEVERLY HILLS

A CITY'S INDEPENDENCE AND THE BIRTH OF CELEBRITY POLITICS

A focused overview of the people and events that shaped Beverly Hills.

Against a backdrop of the Roaring ’20s and the Prohibition Era, a scarcely addressed territorial skirmish simmered over the land now known as Beverly Hills. Journalist and media editor Clare writes passionately and knowledgeably about how a consortium of film celebrities known as the “Beverly Hills Eight”—spearheaded by silent film stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks and including Will Rogers, Rudolph Valentino, and Tom Mix, among others—staked their careers on keeping the territory independent from annexation. In her enlightening, tight history lesson, the author retraces the area’s expansive legacy to its early roots as a lima bean plantation in the late 19th century, when two converging underground streams made the area farm-friendly, and then as an unproductive oil field at the beginning of the 1900s. Clare takes obvious pride in her research, particularly with the minute details of the region’s legacy. She casually dispels rumors about the real reasons the early motion picture industry migrated westward and the true origin of the Beverly Hills name (she offers no answer; it remains a mystery). Once Margaret Anderson constructed her iconic Beverly Hills Hotel and the young city began to face its challenges (water, the encroaching “decency brigade,” etc.), Pickford and Fairbanks established residency there, and the population boom began, which also made it ripe for hungry realtors eager to develop the land. Clare chronicles the diligent political spadework by Pickford, Fairbanks, and their group of eight, who all used their celebrity influence to advocate for the individuality of Beverly Hills and to “keep their Elysium intact and separate.” Thanks to the author’s solid research and intricate detail, this dedicated band of anti-annexationists receive a fitting commemoration.

A fascinating, little-known history on the evolution of an iconic city whose destiny was forever altered by a group of concerned celebrities.

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-12134-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 13, 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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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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