LOST BIRD OF WOUNDED KNEE

HEROIC SPIRIT OF THE LAKOTA

The story of the relationship between an infant survivor of the Wounded Knee massacre and her adoptive mother, a leader of the women's suffrage movement. Although Flood, author of several Native American histories (she edited A Legend from Crazy Horse Clan, not reviewed), clearly intends her tale to be a vehicle for exposing white prejudice and celebrating the perseverance and resistance of the Lakota nation, the work gains its power from the remarkable story of Lost Bird and Clara Colby. Rescued from the arms of her dead mother four days after the December 1890 massacre of the Sioux at Wounded Knee Creek, Lost Bird is acquired as a sort of trophy by the dashing General Leonard Colby. Colby's wife, Clara, takes on the duties of raising her. The Colbys' lives intersected with those of some of the late 19th century's most important and colorful characters, several of whom—Western legend Buffalo Bill and feminist leader Susan B. Anthony, among others—make cameo appearances here. Flood's history follows the lives of both Lost Bird and Clara, chronicling the girl's increasing dissatisfaction with white society and desire, despite her love for Clara, to return to her roots. The author has done a tremendous amount of primary research, including a great number of first-hand interviews, which she uses (and in places overuses, in chunky excerpts that break up the narrative) to relate the two women's lives with remarkable detail. Probably as a result of the sources available, we learn much more about Clara Colby than about Lost Bird, though the latter is the ostensible focus of the book. This detracts somewhat from the personal and historical impact of their story. The prose is at times too flowery, and the text a bit disjointed, but Flood writes history with style and tells an informative, affecting tale. (illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: June 14, 1995

ISBN: 0-684-19512-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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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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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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