PRISONERS WITHOUT TRIAL

JAPANESE AMERICANS IN WORLD WAR II

More proof that good things can come in small packages, this volume—along with two others—kicks off the publisher's ``Critical Issues'' series (consulting editor: Eric Foner), in which experts tackle historical issues whose consequences reverberate today. Not only do the authors of the first three volumes offer cogent overviews of their respective issues, but each is willing to climb out on a critical limb. Daniels (Concentration Camp USA, 1972), for instance, writing about the incarceration of Japanese-Americans during WW II, states that ``this book has tried to explain how and why the outrage happened. That is the role of the historian and his book, which is to analyze the past. But this historian feels that analyzing the past is not always enough''—and so he takes on the question of ``could it happen again?'' and concludes that there's ``an American propensity to react against `foreigners' in the United States during times of external crisis, especially when those `foreigners' have dark skins,'' and that Japanese-Americans, at least, ``would argue that what has happened before can surely happen again.'' Similarly, Kirkpatrick Sale—in The Green Revolution (ISBN: 0-8090-5218-0; paper: 0-8090-1551-X)—summarizes the modern history of American environmentalism (which he sees as dating from the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring) and indicts ``a chemical industry that has subsequently produced some 30,000 chemicals of varying degrees of toxicity''), while Anthony F.C. Wallace—in The Long, Bitter Trail (ISBN: 0-8090-6631-9; paper: 0-8090-1552-8)—studies the legacy of Andrew Jackson's cruel Indian policies and declares that ``two hundred years of national indecision about how the United States should deal with its Native Americans have not come to an end.'' A promising beginning, then, to what looks like a very fine series with a cutting edge; future volumes will include Marvin Frankel on Church & State, Michael Hunt on How We Became Involved in Vietnam, and Betty Wood on Origins of Slavery in the United States.

Pub Date: July 12, 1993

ISBN: 0-8090-7897-X

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Hill and Wang/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1993

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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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