The hits continue. Bring on the ’70s.

THE 60S

THE STORY OF A DECADE

The third installment in the esteemed magazine’s superb decades series.

As current New Yorker editor David Remnick astutely notes in his introduction, the tenor of the 1960s didn’t necessarily jibe with the magazine’s editor, William Shawn, whose “voice was barely a whisper in a raucous time.” However, Shawn was “determined to change” the publication, and during the ’60s, it “became more politically engaged, more formally daring, more vivid, and more intellectually exciting than it had ever been or wished to be.” Those are bold words considering the outstanding work published in the New Yorker during the 1940s and ’50s, but the selections on display here certainly warrant the praise. As in previous volumes, the contributor list is an embarrassment of riches: Rachel Carson, James Baldwin, Calvin Trillin, E.B. White, John Updike, Renata Adler, Sylvia Plath, and John McPhee, among other top names. The book is divided into sections such as “Reckonings,” “Farther Shores,” and “New Arrivals,” and each features an insightful introduction from a current New Yorker contributor (Kelefa Sanneh, Jill Lepore, George Packer, Evan Osnos et al.). For fans of the magazine (and long-form journalism fans in general), the majority of the collection will be highly engaging, and even the “Brief Encounters” offer sparks of excellence—e.g., Lillian Ross on Glenn Gould, Hendrik Hertzberg on The Who. There are also numerous pieces that have since become classics: Carson’s “Silent Spring,” Hannah Arendt’s “Eichmann in Jerusalem,” and Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood: The Corner,” which Remnick calls “the most sensational publication of the decade for the magazine,” one which “Shawn quietly came to regret” due to its “lurid” violence. And yes, even though, as Remnick rightly points out, the New Yorker has never been known for its rock journalism, there are solid pieces on Bob Dylan (Nat Hentoff), Woodstock (Ellen Willis), and the Newport Jazz Festival (Whitney Balliett).

The hits continue. Bring on the ’70s.

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-679-64483-5

Page Count: 752

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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?

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more