An immensely readable work that considers incremental continental developments up to the outbreak of war in 1914.

THE PURSUIT OF POWER

EUROPE 1815-1914

A 100-year survey of European history that moves by transnational themes emphasizing “power”—over industrialization, class, selfhood, wages, and nature.

In this sweeping survey, accomplished British historian Evans (Emeritus, History/Univ. of Cambridge; The Third Reich in History and Memory, 2015, etc.), a winner of the Wolfson History Prize, does not neglect the convulsive changes that occurred among the nonelite across Europe. His forte is his emphasis on how the Republican ideals ignited by the French Revolution, promulgated and corrupted by Napoleon and severely suppressed in many places afterward, never died among a growing class of proletariat and “petty bourgeoisie” (e.g., in France) who were “dissatisfied with the authoritarian policies of the Restoration.” While the European powers were reorganizing after the Congress of Vienna, the revolutionary genie was out of the bottle, as evidenced by the subsequent Decembrist uprising in Russia, the Polish officers’ insurrection, the movement for Greek independence, and the July Revolution of 1830, among others, all creating ramifications that would explode by midcentury. With the emancipation of the serfs—Alexander II’s rationale was that it was “better to abolish serfdom from above, than to wait until the serfs begin to liberate themselves from below”—many faced new economic hardships (e.g., the decline of the sharecropping system) leading to peasant revolts and famine since most people lived on the land and depended on it for survival. Pauperism increased (see: the Irish famine) and, with the conquering of “rail, steam, and speed,” the European working class rose as well. With the advent of the “second Industrial Revolution,” the British imperial lead declined, and the German economy took center stage. With the urbanization of Europe, Evans meticulously follows the accompanying developments in culture—in literature (Charles Dickens’ novels), the adoption of the metric system, the Dreyfus Affair, and the general “shrinkage of space.”

An immensely readable work that considers incremental continental developments up to the outbreak of war in 1914.  

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-670-02457-5

Page Count: 928

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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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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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

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

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