Brown’s wit and extensive research make this a solid book of history, sociology and literature, as well as a great travel...




The centuries-long story of the George Inn, which may not have been Shakespeare’s local, but proves fascinating nonetheless.

Brown (Man Walks into a Pub, 2004) admits that there’s no proof the Bard of Avon ever set foot in the George Inn, but it’s the logical place on which to center this book, as it’s the only inn that survived fires, the railroads, the Blitz and modernization. The surviving section of the 16th-century pub is a perfectly preserved example of the coaching inns of the past. The author’s vast research shows the centrality of these inns to everyday life and commerce. This is actually a history of Southwark, for so many years—nay centuries—the dumping ground for people, businesses and severed heads that the city across the Thames didn’t want to deal with. Just as often referred to as “the borough,” Southwark sits at the bottom of London Bridge, which until the middle of the 18th century was the only bridge across the Thames. With goods, and especially hops, arriving from the southeast, Southwark became the logistical distribution center of London. As such, inns required large yards for the wagons, coaches and their propulsion units: horses. The inn yards then evolved into the theaters of the area, supporting the plays of Shakespeare, enjoyed from the galleries for those who could afford a penny. The Canterbury Tales, as well as Piers Ploughman, showed the beginnings of the inn as a community gathering place, but Dickens’ Mr. Pickwick made the George’s name as tourists trolled for links to that most popular author.

Brown’s wit and extensive research make this a solid book of history, sociology and literature, as well as a great travel guide.

Pub Date: May 21, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-250-03388-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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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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