A provocative history of Arctic adventure and colonization. (21 illustrations, 2 maps, not seen)




An account of two Arctic explorers and the Meta Incognita (Unknown Shore) that they attempted to settle in England’s first attempt at colonizing the New World.

In 1576 Martin Frobisher sailed from England in search of a northerly trade route to Asia—the fabled “Northwest Passage” that European mariners wasted centuries searching for. On his first voyage, “monstrous ice” kept his ship from exploring “Frobisher Strait,” and he came to the reluctant conclusion that the strait was actually a bay—and thus not the route he was looking for. As proof of having reached land, however, Frobisher brought back to England a captive Inuit and a black stone about the size of a brick. Pieces of the rock were duly sent to assayers, and one of them reported that it contained gold. Not long afterwards Elizabeth I awarded a charter to the Cathay Company (giving it exclusive exploration rights in the region), approved the second and third voyages there, and determined that colonization made financial sense and was to proceed forthwith. As a result, 15 ships and 400 men set out for the Arctic in 1578. Frobisher lost 40 men on the voyage, but he was able to bring home 1,136 tons of the black rock—only to find that it yielded so little gold that it was worthless. The company soon collapsed, and Frobisher’s reputation fell with it. Baltimore Sun editor Ruby (Jericho, 1995) entwines Frobisher’s narrative with that of American newspaper-publisher-turned-explorer Charles Francis Hall, who traveled to the Arctic in 1860. Hall was deeply surprised to learn (from an English-speaking Inuit couple on Baffin Island) of the Frobisher voyages, and he became obsessed with finding the former colony—of which nothing by then remained.

A provocative history of Arctic adventure and colonization. (21 illustrations, 2 maps, not seen)

Pub Date: June 12, 2001

ISBN: 0-8050-5215-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2001

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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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