Miklosik, a retired anesthesiologist, self-confessed “curmudgeon” and proud contrarian, claims that being born in Canada to...

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THE LIE THAT IS LINCOLN

An armchair historian challenges commonly held views about the American Civil War in a series of incendiary essays.

Miklosik, a retired anesthesiologist, self-confessed “curmudgeon” and proud contrarian, claims that being born in Canada to Slovak immigrants makes him an “impartial observer” to what he sees as the “kiss-ass” canonization of “Saint Abraham Lincoln.” He admits the man spoke well but places him alongside Genghis Khan and Pol Pot in the pantheon of the “world’s cruelest dictators.” He quotes Thomas Paine and John Locke and wonders if Lincoln ever read their work. To Miklosik, “it is mind-boggling” that more than a million “civilized, advanced young men” were sacrificed “just to free from bondage 4,000,000 illiterate, backward savages” because our sixteenth president lacked “patience.” Miklosik considers slavery an “odious industry” but justifies its history by quoting the Old Testament, where “at worst,” it was seen as an “event of minor reprehensibility.” God clearly proscribed, “Thou shall not kill,” but he said nothing about owning slaves. Miklosik claims abolitionists (under the sway of hypocritical Quakers) elevated it into an “abomination”—and an excuse for Northern aggression. To this, the author adds the usual arguments concerning states’ rights, misguided government and the corruption of absolute power. He portrays the South as “agrarian, aristocratic” and the North as “capitalistic, industrial.” This tendency to generalize upends many of the author’s arguments. While he bemoans the bias of “sycophantic” historians, his “jaundiced and cynical views of history” force him into his own dogmatic corner. It might be easy to dismiss a writer who thinks Uncle Tom’s Cabin beats any “propaganda” Goebbels created for Hitler. But no one will deny the man his passion. What the author calls “iconoclastic,” many readers might find over-the-top and offensive.

Pub Date: May 9, 2012

ISBN: 978-1469156415

Page Count: 302

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2012

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A well-documented and enlightened portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt for our times.

ELEANOR

A LIFE

A comprehensive exploration of one of the most influential women of the last century.

The accomplishments of Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) were widespread and substantial, and her trailblazing actions in support of social justice and global peace resonate powerfully in our current moment. Her remarkable life has been extensively documented in a host of acclaimed biographies, including Blanche Wiesen Cook’s excellent three-volume life. Eleanor was also a highly prolific writer in her own right; through memoirs, essays, and letters, she continuously documented experiences and advancing ideas. In the most expansive one-volume portrait to date, Michaelis offers a fresh perspective on some well-worn territory—e.g., Eleanor’s unconventional marriage to Franklin and her progressively charged relationships with men and women, including her intimacy with newspaper reporter Lorena Hickok. The author paints a compelling portrait of Eleanor’s life as an evolving journey of transformation, lingering on the significant episodes to shed nuance on her circumstances and the players involved. Eleanor’s privileged yet dysfunctional childhood was marked by the erratic behavior and early deaths of her flighty, alcoholic father and socially absorbed mother, and she was left to shuttle among equally neglectful relatives. During her young adulthood, her instinctual need to be useful and do good work attracted the attention of notable mentors, each serving to boost her confidence and fine-tune her political and social convictions, shaping her expanding consciousness. As in his acclaimed biography of Charles Schulz, Michaelis displays his nimble storytelling skills, smoothly tracking Eleanor’s ascension from wife and mother to her powerfully influential and controversial role as first lady and continued leadership and activist efforts beyond. Throughout, the author lucidly illuminates the essence of her thinking and objectives. “As Eleanor’s activism evolved,” writes Michaelis, “she did not see herself reaching to solve social problems so much as engaging with individuals to unravel discontinuities between the old order and modernity.”

A well-documented and enlightened portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt for our times.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4391-9201-6

Page Count: 704

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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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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