A fresh perspective mainly for students and specialists.



Street-level view of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

Cunningham (Media Studies/Doshisha Univ., Kyoto), an American-born Asia specialist, was living on campus at Beijing Normal University during the weeks-long popular uprising that ended with the deaths of hundreds of Chinese students and intellectuals on June 4. The historic and bloody event—still the object of a “soul-chilling silence” by Chinese officials—has been much written about in the West, but Cunningham offers the intriguing point of view of a Chinese speaker who both took part in the demonstrations and covered them as a freelance journalist for the BBC. His vivid, highly personal account begins in early May, when he joined Chinese students in orderly sit-ins at the New China News Agency to protest the lack of press freedom. Amid campus rivalries, the uprising grew to include a bicycle demonstration, slogan-shouting in front of the People’s Daily offices and a mid-May hunger strike that gave new urgency to the protest. Cunningham re-creates the headiness of the time and the hopefulness of young Chinese wearing headbands and carrying red flags and hand-painted posters. His many extended conversations with student leaders and others reveal the frequent mistrust among the demonstrators as well as their shared grievances over corruption and class privilege in Chinese society. As the war of nerves between protesters and government officials heated up, Cunningham experienced his own inner turmoil as a Westerner who was highly sympathetic to the uprising but nonetheless viewed with suspicion by many in the crowd. He concludes with an account of the violent government crackdown. The author says the upheaval at Tiananmen accelerated reform, and he remains in awe of the “remarkably peaceful, transformative, and uplifting weeks” that preceded the arrival of troops and tanks. His inside view of these chaotic days offers a deeper understanding of the yearning for freedom that drove youths and workers into the streets of a closed society.

A fresh perspective mainly for students and specialists.

Pub Date: July 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-7425-6672-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2009

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...


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.



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?