A far-reaching, animated, and thoroughly enjoyable account of a family’s roots.




An Indiana-based author traces his family history in this genealogical study.

The title of this work is drawn from the Old Testament book of Isaiah, which begins: “Consider the rock from which you were hewn.” Reynolds (The Harmonious Echo, 2015) cleverly proceeds to do just that by first introducing his ancestors, the Butlers, as they sit around the table for Christmas dinner in 1929. He draws a sketch of each family member, beginning with Edwin Butler, a “handsome man,” “an outdoorsman,” and “photographer.” Beside him is his wife, Clarice, a “ ‘lady,’ in the proper old sense of the word.” After establishing a sense of intimacy, the author delves into the past to find the origins of the Butler name, which has a predominantly British heritage. Reynolds finds that his ancestors fought with the Scottish warrior William Wallace and “were part of the pageantry” when King James I of England was crowned. The author’s family tree reveals a bounty of captivating individuals, from an indentured servant who was sent to America to John Butland, who changed his name to Butler to avoid being associated with a family of the same name with a bad reputation, and the intrepid Winnie Butler, whose travels took her to Alaska, Norway, Rome, and beyond. Reynolds embroiders his family’s story into the more expansive fabric of history beautifully at times. For example, when portraying the youthful Clarice, he describes the fashions of the age: “When Clarice Hawkins was a young girl, the beau ideal of a young woman was the Gibson Girl, the creation of pen-and-ink artist Charles Dana Gibson.” This startlingly detailed background information allows readers to consider all of the family members as distinct products of their eras. The passionately written and painstakingly researched book contains a wealth of intriguing information and is richly illustrated using family photographs, lithographs, maps, and pedigree charts. Reynolds’ study should be a source of great interest and inspiration to readers keen on investigating their ancestors’ histories.

A far-reaching, animated, and thoroughly enjoyable account of a family’s roots.

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5370-5208-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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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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