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

READ REVIEW

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

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...

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

Did you like this book?

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

  • National Book Award Winner

  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

more