Those who’ve seen the Catskills will love how the authors capture its magic. Those who haven’t will start planning a trip.

READ REVIEW

THE CATSKILLS

ITS HISTORY AND HOW IT CHANGED AMERICA

A history that demonstrates “the color, charm, and even lunacy that for the past four hundred years have characterized the Catskill Mountains and the people attracted to them.”

Silverman (David Lean, 1992, etc.) and the late Silver (Congregation, 2014) stress the enormous influence of Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle and Sleepy Hollow, which invented a place of imagination for artists, painters, and essayists. Among those were America’s first novelist, James Fenimore Cooper, whose Leatherstocking Tales enlightened Europeans and Americans of the beauty of the Catskills region; and Thomas Cole, the leader of the Hudson River School, who claimed that in America, all nature is new to art. In 1807, Robert Fulton’s steamship, the Clermont, sailed from New York to Albany, further opening the area to travel. At first, industry such as tanning and bluestone mining took hold, followed by the arrival of migrants looking for a homestead. Unfortunately for the immigrants, the feudal practice of leasehold under the post-revolutionary landlords was too much. In the 1830s, the “rent wars” began, causing widespread evictions and forced sale of belongings. In addition to a host of other colorful characters, the authors point out two boyhood friends who traveled widely different paths: railroad tycoon Jay Gould and naturalist John Burroughs. One sought to protect the area, while the other exploited it. The railroads brought increasing numbers of visitors, and wealthy New Yorkers established large, restricted resorts, tuberculosis sanatoriums, and boardinghouses like that of the Grossingers. All of these expanded with the arrival of the automobile. Eventually, as the authors engagingly chronicle, the New York syndicate made up of Sicilian and Jewish gangsters discovered the fine hiding places of the area. As the days of the big resorts ebbed, the Arts and Crafts movement grew up around Woodstock, morphing into the hippie movement and the rise of folk music.

Those who’ve seen the Catskills will love how the authors capture its magic. Those who haven’t will start planning a trip.

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-307-27215-7

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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?

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

  • National Book Award Winner

  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

more