An invaluable personal account that fleshes out history.

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FROM LOVE FIELD

MY FINAL HOURS WITH PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY

Texas Governor John Connally’s wife, who was also in the car when President Kennedy was shot, makes a slender but valid contribution to the assassination story.

Nellie Connally’s eyewitness account is both a poignant personal recollection and a historically interesting record. Aided by veteran coauthor Herskowitz, who collaborated on Connally’s husband’s memoir, In History’s Shadow (1999), she includes all those small details that give recollections immediacy: what she wore (ironically, a pink suit like Jackie’s); what she was thinking about (the dinner the Connallys were to host that night in Austin); and whom she missed (her children, who would be meeting the president at dinner). But Connally was also a politician’s wife who understood the importance of the presidential visit. Texas Democrats were bitterly divided between liberals and conservatives, and though the state was heavily Democratic, it had voted Republican in 1952 and 1956. Many conservative Texans had demonstrated against Democratic political figures, even spitting at native son Lyndon Johnson, and the White House had ostensibly planned this trip to mend political fences. The real reason was more mundane: Kennedy was eager to raise money in the state for his upcoming reelection. Connally describes how well the visit went initially, with enthusiastic crowds sparking her comment as they neared the underpass, “Mr. President, you certainly can’t say Dallas doesn’t love you” (probably the last words Kennedy heard). She recalls the shock of seeing the president and her husband shot, the race to the hospital, and the wait outside with Jackie. John Connally was badly wounded, and his wife feared for his life. As she details his slow recovery, the tight security that surrounded him, and the emotions of those terrible days, the author offers a particularly Texan perspective to the events, expressing the shame she and so many others felt that the assassination had occurred in their state.

An invaluable personal account that fleshes out history.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2003

ISBN: 1-59071-014-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Rugged Land

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2003

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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 PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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