A highly qualified historian offers a dense, sweeping history of a nation on the move.

THE REPUBLIC FOR WHICH IT STANDS

THE UNITED STATES DURING RECONSTRUCTION AND THE GILDED AGE, 1865-1896

A massive history of the striving, riven new nation that emerged from the Civil War, extending to the turn of the century.

As an integral piece of Oxford’s History of the United States series, this comprehensive volume by distinguished scholar White (American History/Stanford Univ.; Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America, 2012, etc.), a MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellow, portrays the United States at a significant crossroads. Would Americans embrace the common ideals of the recently deceased president, Abraham Lincoln, which formed a moral foundation for the future, or would the nation descend into political corruption, avaricious corporations, backlash against immigrants, and increasing class conflict? White delineates how both occurred. Lincoln’s Republican Party was transformed during these years of Reconstruction, splitting between the Radicals and laissez-faire liberals, essentially divided over how overbearing the federal government would be—yet all were committed to larger goals of nationalism, free labor, and contract freedom. While the Radicals were pushing for vigorous federal powers in the protection of freedmen’s rights, President Andrew Johnson, and the recalcitrant South, pushed back to maintain “a white man’s republic.” Meanwhile, the nation was exploding with the innovations of “tinkerers” and mass immigration into the country. The conquest of Native Americans was completed by their acculturation and assimilation, with the reservations governed by religious leaders who knew no more about administration than the military did. As an astute historian of the American West, White offers important scholarship on the “Greater Reconstruction”—i.e., conquering the West by bold federal policies like the railway acts and land grant legislation that created new infrastructure and schools and offered free farms for those able to work the land. At the same time, reformers pushed for enormously important social changes. Wage labor, wealth inequality, and immigration created class conflict that erupted in strikes in the late 1880s, while the concept of “home” took on new significance for whites and blacks alike.

A highly qualified historian offers a dense, sweeping history of a nation on the move.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-19-973581-5

Page Count: 928

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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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 Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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