While steering clear of taking sides in the matter of recreational hunting, Dray provides a lively history that can be...



A revealing history of recreational hunting in America and the numerous social and political complexities involved.

Throughout the world, hunting is pursued as a sport, business, and sustenance, but nowhere is it as popular as in America. Dray (There Is Power in a Union: The Epic Story of Labor in America, 2010, etc.) focuses on that first category in exploring the sweeping history of this controversial topic. As recreation, hunting arrived in America along with the first non-Native settlers, but it was not until the mid-1800s and into the Gilded Age that sport hunting grew to enjoy immense popularity, in large part due to a recognition of “the restorative values of the natural world.” Hunting was just one of a number of outdoors activities, including camping and hiking, that city dwellers were taking up in order to fight neurasthenia, a sort of restless anxiety that doctors were diagnosing in the latter half of the 19th century. Some of America’s most recognized names make appearances in Dray’s work as either hunters or commentators on the pursuit. These include George Washington, Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, Henry David Thoreau, Theodore Roosevelt, and Ernest Hemingway. The author does a marvelous job walking us, mostly chronologically, through nearly every aspect and controversy of hunting’s long history, with themes of ethics (“fair chase, the idea that hunted animals must have a chance to evade or flee their pursuers”) and conservation looming large throughout. Perhaps most interesting is the interconnectedness of hunters and conservation efforts throughout the decades. Hunters have led many of those efforts, and today, “wildlife agencies are funded largely from fishing and hunting license fees” as well as taxes on hunting equipment. One chapter, largely on Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, feels somewhat out of place, but that’s a minor quibble.

While steering clear of taking sides in the matter of recreational hunting, Dray provides a lively history that can be enjoyed by hunters and conservationists alike.

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-465-06172-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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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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