Jones provides deep research and nicely fleshed portraits but only partial synthesis of the information.

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MORE POWERFUL THAN DYNAMITE

RADICALS, PLUTOCRATS, PROGRESSIVES, AND NEW YORK'S YEAR OF ANARCHY

A messy conglomeration of personalities make up this ill-focused yet engaging portrait of New York City on the verge of anarchy and war, 1914. 

Chockablock with research and detail, journalist Jones’ second work (after A Radical Line: From the Labor Movement to the Weather Underground, One Family's Century of Conscience, 2004) includes everything except a clear thesis. If there is anything he is proving, it is his passion and respect for the players of that roiling, revolutionary time: anarchists like Emma Goldman and Alexander Beckman, reform-minded New York City mayor-elect John Purroy Mitchel, crusading journalists like Mother Jones and Uptown Sinclair and even the Christian idealist out of step with his plutocratic patriarch, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Jones moves chronologically throughout 1914, which opened after the relative harmony of the previous year. However, social evils in all facets of society were exposed by enlightened provocateurs like the young unemployed labor leader Frank Tannenbaum, who led fellow groups of unemployed into the city’s churches for shelter during that extremely harsh winter and was eventually arrested. Anarchists were on the march as well, supported by union protestors, often to violent effect; they taxed the resources and good will of the new mayor and his broad-minded new police commissioner, Arthur Woods. Employees at the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company, co-owned by Rockefeller but managed from a distance, went on strike, culminating in the so-called Ludlow Massacre, which prompted a sea change in Rockefeller Jr.’s antiquated views on collective organization and union rights. President Wilson struggled with turmoil in Mexico, calls for war in Europe and his own health, while a bomb probably designated for Rockefeller Jr. detonated accidentally in a Lexington Avenue apartment, killing three anarchists.

Jones provides deep research and nicely fleshed portraits but only partial synthesis of the information.

Pub Date: April 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8027-7933-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

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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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A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

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WHY WE'RE POLARIZED

A sharp explanation of how American politics has become so discordant.

Journalist Klein, co-founder of Vox, formerly of the Washington Post, MSNBC, and Bloomberg, reminds readers that political commentators in the 1950s and ’60s denounced Republicans and Democrats as “tweedledum and tweedledee.” With liberals and conservatives in both parties, they complained, voters lacked a true choice. The author suspects that race played a role, and he capably shows us why and how. For a century after the Civil War, former Confederate states, obsessed with keeping blacks powerless, elected a congressional bloc that “kept the Democratic party less liberal than it otherwise would’ve been, the Republican Party congressionally weaker than it otherwise would’ve been, and stopped the parties from sorting themselves around the deepest political cleavage of the age.” Following the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, many white Southern Democrats became Republicans, and the parties turned consistently liberal and conservative. Given a “true choice,” Klein maintains, voters discarded ideology in favor of “identity politics.” Americans, like all humans, cherish their “tribe” and distrust outsiders. Identity was once a preoccupation of minorities, but it has recently attracted white activists and poisoned the national discourse. The author deplores the decline of mass media (network TV, daily newspapers), which could not offend a large audience, and the rise of niche media and internet sites, which tell a small audience only what they want to hear. American observers often joke about European nations that have many parties who vote in lock step. In fact, such parties cooperate to pass legislation. America is the sole system with only two parties, both of which are convinced that the other is not only incompetent (a traditional accusation), but a danger to the nation. So far, calls for drastic action to prevent the apocalypse are confined to social media, fringe activists, and the rhetoric of Trump supporters. Fortunately—according to Klein—Trump is lazy, but future presidents may be more savvy. The author does not conclude this deeply insightful, if dispiriting, analysis by proposing a solution.

A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4767-0032-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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