A British historian nimbly makes sense and relevance out of the confoundingly entangled dynasties of the Yorks and Tudors.

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BLOOD SISTERS

THE WOMEN BEHIND THE WARS OF THE ROSES

A labyrinthine journey through the York-Lancaster feud of 15th-century England from the point of view of its queens.

Biographer Gristwood (The Girl in the Mirror, 2012, etc.) pursues no fewer than seven remarkable women of note between the wedding of Marguerite of Anjou to Henry VI in 1445 and the death of Elizabeth of York, queen to the re-established Henry Tudor, in 1503. The War of the Roses was more accurately known as the Cousins’ War since, of course, everybody was related, descended from Edward III in some fashion, and convinced they had an equal shot at the crown. Gristwood allows several great matriarchs to take center stage between the vying for power by Lancastrians and Yorkists: Marguerite of Anjou, the strong, French-born queen who had to endure a humiliating return to France after her spineless husband was muscled out of the throne after the Yorkist victory at Towton; Cecily Neville, who would lose her husband but see her brilliant son prevail as Edward IV; and Margaret Beaufort, who jealously, devotedly schemed to dethrone Richard III in favor of her son, Henry Tudor. Moreover, there is the tremendously moving love story between Edward IV and commoner Elizabeth Woodville, the mother of the two subsequent young doomed princes in the tower. As Gristwood amply proves in this shrewd, rewarding study, alliances and ambitions involved women as much as men. The author also includes a glossary of select names and a “simplified family tree,” both of which will be particularly helpful for American readers.

A British historian nimbly makes sense and relevance out of the confoundingly entangled dynasties of the Yorks and Tudors.

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-465-01831-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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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 PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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