Readers with an interest in the subject would do better to begin with David Roberts’ far superior Once They Moved Like the...




Second-tier, oddly old-fashioned military history by former naval officer Mort (The Hemingway Patrols, 2009).

In February 1861, a young Anglo boy disappeared from a ranch near the borders of New Mexico, Arizona and the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua, territory that was home to several Apache bands. Suspicion fell on the closest of them, led by the well-known fighter Cochise, who had long distinguished himself in battle against the Mexican army. An American officer named George Bascom questioned Cochise and, not believing what he heard, took several of Cochise’s family members hostage. Cochise escaped in a hail of gunfire. It turned out that Cochise’s band was not at fault after all, but the damage was done, and the Bascom Affair touched off the Apache Wars, which would last off and on for more than half a century. The Bascom Affair is a fixture in every history of those wars, and Mort doesn’t turn up much that is new. Indeed, his approach reads as if written half a century ago, before ethnohistorical research helped establish the Apache point of view on such matters; his bibliography lacks some central texts, and so it is that he is given to pat explanations—writing, for instance, that the Apaches raided because “they simply liked it,” and not, as Grenville Goodwin and other anthropologists have observed, because it was an enterprise as much cultural as economic and military in nature. Just so, he perpetuates tales about gruesome torture that have long been revealed to be canards—although, to be sure, ugly behavior took place on both sides. Mort’s history, overall, is of the Zane Grey school, readable enough but more yarn than true history.

Readers with an interest in the subject would do better to begin with David Roberts’ far superior Once They Moved Like the Wind (1993).

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1605984223

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 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...


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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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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