Mort’s delightful prose will entice readers of history, geography, Native American studies and sociology. All will revel in...



The history of Gen. George Custer’s 1,000-man exploration across 300 miles of Dakota Plains in search of gold.

Mort’s (The Wrath of Cochise, 2013, etc.) enlightening works about Native Americans are remarkable not only for their depth, but also for the poetic beauty of his descriptions of their lives, religions and cultures. The Sioux had no concept of private property. The land was theirs by right of conquest—of the Kiowa, Cheyenne and Crow—and due to the fact that they occupied it. The white man defined ownership as working the land—e.g., farming, which was work that male Indians felt was only for squaws. President Ulysses Grant’s peace plan involved containing the tribes on reservations, training them in agriculture and taking their children into missionary schools. That was the best way to extinguish the Native American way of life, and the Sioux knew it was so. The stated objective of Custer’s expedition in 1874 was to find a site for a permanent military installation, but the implicit goal was to find gold. It was hoped that the finding of gold in the Black Hills would help offset the country’s massive Civil War debt. It would also bolster the stock and bonds tied to the Northern Pacific Railroad, an important project for the general. The Sioux called Custer’s trail the Thieves’ Road since it stole into their territory and foretold the end of their freedom and way of life. They had already dealt with incursion before, during the Red Cloud War, when Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapahoe joined to destroy the Bozeman Trail. The 1868 Treaty of Laramie closed forts along that trail and ceded a million acres with hunting rights outside the reservation.

Mort’s delightful prose will entice readers of history, geography, Native American studies and sociology. All will revel in the feeling of being in the Dakotas at the end of the 19th century.

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-61614-960-4

Page Count: 340

Publisher: Prometheus Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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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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