KILL THE COWBOY

A BATTLE OF MYTHOLOGY IN THE NEW WEST

Take the cowboy, please, and send him packing, along with all his mythological baggage—or so argues Russell (Writing/Western New Mexico University) in this provocative and iconoclastic study. Huge tracts of public range are beginning to go lunar: badlands-scale erosion; dry and degraded stream beds, void of wildlife. Livestock overgrazing is much to blame, Russell says, and greedy, land-rapacious ranchers are the culprits. ``Greedy'' because this public land could support and benefit from a moderate grazing regimen—except that ``moderate'' isn't part of the stockman's vocabulary. Government institutions such as the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management—along with the powerful rancher's lobby in Washington—seem intent on keeping the status quo, while a wide array of groups and individuals have taken up opposition. Russell documents the struggles of these ranching opponents and their visions of a different land use, from Quaker to Earth First!-er. Much is afoot on public rangeland—from possible wolf-reintroduction and holistic resource-management to the loss of almost all riparian ecosystems due to cow-stomping and the poisoning of wildlife by ranchers who don't like the competition- -and Russell samples from all these waters. How can we restore degraded land? asks Russell. How can we have healthy systems of soil and water? How can humans fit into the landscape? The author, meanwhile, is aware that ranchers are in a predicament: How can they change their ways and still avoid economic ruin? The final chapter finds her in a philosophical mode, ruminating on Judeo- Christian ethics, biodiversity, Gary Snyder, and Native American attitudes toward the land. Russell takes a cultural icon and, in one bold stroke, brings it full circle from myth to menace. The West needs a new image, and she's given us many to choose from.

Pub Date: June 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-201-58123-X

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Addison-Wesley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1993

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more