A meticulously researched treatment of a topic seldom examined by historians: the white Southerners, contemptuously called ``Tories'' by their Confederate brethren, who served in the Federal armies during the Civil War. As Current (Those Terrible Carpetbaggers, 1987, etc.) points out, the overwhelming majority of the more than 100,000 white Southerners in the US forces came from staunchly Unionist areas of eastern Tennessee and western Virginia (including the new state of West Virginia), but every Confederate state except South Carolina contributed regiments to the US Army. Large areas of predominately Union sentiment existed in North Carolina, Alabama, and Texas, and US armies conducted successful conscription programs in occupied areas in Louisiana and Arkansas. Current emphasizes that many of these men took up arms for the Union at considerable personal risk- -they and their families faced opprobrium and ostracism in their communities, and, if captured, often harsher treatment than other Federal prisoners (if, as was often the case, they joined the US Army after deserting the Confederate forces, they were executed if recaptured). Noting the mixed war record of the pro-Union Southerners—some, like the First Alabama Calvary, the First Tennessee Calvary, and the Seventh Virginia Infantry, served with distinction, while others performed more unevenly—Current argues persuasively that, whatever their record, Southern loyalists represented a loss to the Confederacy even more grievous than the black regiments organized by the Union, ``since the whites composed a part of the Confederacy's military potential and the blacks did not: the war was over before the Jefferson Davis government got around to employing blacks as soldiers.'' A deeper study of the sociology of pro-Union sentiment in the South would have enhanced the text; but, still, an excellent and significant contribution to Civil War literature.

Pub Date: June 25, 1992

ISBN: 1-55553-124-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1992

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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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