A well-documented, highly readable history of three turbulent years in the history of Native America. American Indian radical politics first drew international attention in the early winter of 1969, when an unknown number of activists, certainly fewer than a hundred, occupied Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. The American Indian Movement, an activist organization, grew to prominence through that action, bringing fame (or notoriety, depending on your viewpoint) to Richard Oakes, Russell Means, Dennis Banks, Browning Pipestem, and John Trudell; it also helped focus Indian activists on developing what movement strategist Clyde Warrior called ``true Indian philosophy geared to modern times.'' Native historians Chaat and Warrior (a former Kirkus contributor and Stanford historian; Tribal Secrets, 1994) chart AIM's fortunes through the three years culminating in both Nixon's reelection and the siege at Wounded Knee, S.D., where armed AIM sympathizers held off federal agents for eight weeks while becoming an international cause cÇläbre. The period between Alcatraz and Wounded Knee, the authors write, ``was for American Indians every bit as significant as the counterculture was for young whites, or the civil rights movement for blacks.'' They make their case with admirable balance, noting that the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, usually the heavy in books of this sort, was full of well-meaning and sympathetic individuals, and that AIM had its share of bad actors, including people who at Alcatraz busied themselves ``bootlegging liquor and thrashing residents who criticized the leadership or who asked too many questions about finances.'' Still, the authors argue, most of the activists who put themselves on the line at Alcatraz, Wounded Knee, and elsewhere gave powerful voice to the voiceless peoples hitherto tucked away on reservations, ``the most ignored population in the United States.'' This is essential reading for anyone interested in the course of contemporary American Indian politics. (25 b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 1996

ISBN: 1-56584-316-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1996

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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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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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