A congested but nevertheless in-depth investigation of an overlooked war and the types of people drawn to it.

READ REVIEW

Searching for Barton Carter

From debut author Clough comes a historical biography of an American’s involvement in the Spanish Civil War.

Born in New Hampshire to a prominent family, Barton Carter seems to have had a happy childhood of New England excursions, good schooling, and genial family relations—“His parents and siblings adored him, and they knew they could always depend on him, regardless of the circumstances.” After attending Williams College and securing a job at “a conservative investment bank and private equities firm” in London, one might think Carter would have settled down to a comfortable life abroad. After a visit to Spain, however, he finds a country in a state of upheaval. It’s 1936, and the Spanish Civil War is escalating. Journeying to Barcelona, where various anti-Fascist groups seem in high spirits, Carter notes that “practically every other man was a militiaman.” He finds that “in just two weeks, the people of Spain had transformed him.” Beginning with a job driving a truck for the nonpolitical National Joint Committee for Spanish Relief, the book follows Carter’s involvement with his new calling and the many atrocities of war that surround him. But, as his sympathy for the Republican cause increases, how long will he resist the role of a combatant? At its best when detailing the heavy fighting of the later days of the war, Carter’s quest takes on a bleak quality that illustrates the eventual hopelessness of the cause. Likewise, later chapters detailing the author’s own quest to tell Carter’s story are full of intrigue, not the least of which involves a visit to a medium. Forced dialogue—“Hello. I’m Bart Carter. I’m from America and am working as a truck driver for the NJC”—may cause attention to wander in early portions. The payoff, however, is a standout tale of a brave young man’s determination to participate in history, no matter how sad the eventual conclusion.

A congested but nevertheless in-depth investigation of an overlooked war and the types of people drawn to it. 

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4917-6518-0

Page Count: 816

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 11

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more