The author’s argument is likely to find support, but absent any discussion of how to fund and implement education and...

BLACKWARDS

HOW BLACK LEADERSHIP IS RETURNING AMERICA TO THE DAYS OF SEPARATE BUT EQUAL

A senior advisor to Congress and the White House offers some outspoken advice on how to oppose racism in a post-racial society.

Christie (Acting White: The Curious History of a Racial Slur, 2010, etc.) believes that “education is the civil rights issue for the twenty first century.” The author advocates a path forward that involves ending affirmative action based on racial quotas, re-examining the functions of the NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus and other black organizations, and “refraining from hurling allegations of racism against political opponents.” The author first appeals to the legacies of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., and the tradition of Brown v. Board of Education. For him, their legacies represent their successes, and the “march for equality is over in most respects.” The author argues that to continue to fight for improvements for minorities through affirmative action and other means (e.g., promoting multiculturalism) is to express a particular interest against the general welfare and is therefore regressive. For Christie, such advocacy is also racist, so many black organizations, including the Black Caucus, “are racist and should be disbanded.” In his view, the Obama administration has been a main source of racial polarization. He also asserts that the problems facing black communities—e.g., unemployment, school quality, poverty, broken households—are no longer problems of deprivation of rights or lack of equal protections, and thus do not need addressing via the methods of the past.

The author’s argument is likely to find support, but absent any discussion of how to fund and implement education and employment policies, it lacks utility.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-59147-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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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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