Essential for students of the Revolutionary era and a pleasure for cartography buffs.




The story of the American Revolution capably told through maps.

If it can’t be measured, the engineers say, it can’t be monitored. Just so, without knowledge of where an empire begins and ends, there can be no empire: thus maps, those indispensable adjuncts of nations. Brown, vice-chairman of the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library, and map dealer and historian Cohen (Mapping the West: America's Westward Movement 1524-1890, 2002, etc.) chart the seven years of Revolutionary War between Britain and its North American Colonies in a series of maps and related illustrations. The earliest major piece, the “Anti-Gallican Map,” sets the stage two decades before the Revolution, when Britain and France contested over the territory. As the authors write, meaningfully, “cartography always benefits from war or even the prospect of war,” and the multicolored map from December 1755, “a masterpiece of propaganda,” made a case for the necessity of war by depicting British North America as a civilized island in an ocean of French marauders and their savage Indian allies. The war with France over, maps then looked into the interior of the continent, where land-hungry Americans longed to go but the British crown locked away. If some of the maps are aspirational, most are highly realistic (or, as the authors put it, “candid”); the map of Boston showing the disposition of British troops at the time of what would become the Battle of Bunker Hill is a marvel of economic truth-telling. The excellent supporting artwork and Brown and Cohen’s elegant text help place these works in perspective in terms of both the development of the war from Fort Duquesne to Yorktown and the rise of modern mapmaking through the persons of unwitting heroes like Col. John Montresor, “the most able British soldier who served during the French and Indian War and the American Revolution.”

Essential for students of the Revolutionary era and a pleasure for cartography buffs.

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-393-06032-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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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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