POMPEII

PUBLIC AND PRIVATE LIFE

paper 0-674-68967-4 In a painstaking analysis of Pompeii’s development from country town to city, German scholar Zanker (Classical Archaeology/Univ. of Munich) draws an intimate portrait of ancient urban life. Ash from an eruption of Vesuvius in 79 a.d. blanketed Pompeii, preserving the ancient city intact, together with all traces of its earlier development. Thus, unlike other Roman sites, Pompeii is not simply a collection of ruins, but an artifact that can tell how Roman cities developed and give a sense of the way in which Romans used urban spaces. Drawing on the unique archaeological opportunity presented by Pompeii, Zanker first narrates Pompeii’s growth from a culturally Hellenistic Oscan city allied with Rome to a city colonized by Roman veterans of the civil wars of the first century b.c. According to Zanker, Oscan Pompeii had characteristically Greek institutions, such as the gymnasium, baths, and theater. After Roman colonists took over the city in the wake of an ill-fated rebellion by the Pompeians around 89 b.c., a splendid amphitheater. was built, and structures with political applications, like the forum, were expanded. In particular, the temples and public places devoted to the Roman gods were renovated, a reflection of the renewal of the traditional Roman religion after the accession of Augustus as emperor. The early Augustan period also saw development of an infrastructure, including a water and sewer system, and civic pride was reflected in the tombs of the town’s leading citizens, which were designed as places of rest and reflection for the residents. After an earthquake in 62 a.d. emphasis in rebuilding shifted from the political to the pursuit of pleasure and entertainment. Zanker closely analyzes the villas, paintings, gardens, and other spaces of Roman Pompeii to develop a vivid picture of private urban life, mostly devoted to esthetic and cultural pursuits but not without everyday cares, among the mostly well-to-do citizens of the city. A thoughtful and well-researched examination of everyday life in the ancient world. (21 color, 55 b&w illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-674-68966-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1998

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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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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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