King’s wife, reading over his shoulder, suggested he had way too many lists. She’s right, but this is still a solid book and...




“[A]ny discussion of Indians in North America is likely to conjure up a certain amount of rage,” writes King (A Short History of Indians in Canada, 2013, etc.) in this quirky history—but also “moments of irony and humour.”

Taking a deep historical look at both Canada and the United States, the author irreverently recounts the wonderful treaties that were made and frequently broken. As William Tecumseh Sherman said, “treaties were never made to be kept, but to serve a present purpose, to settling a present difficulty in the easiest manner possible…and then to be disregarded as soon as this purpose was tainted.” Though the story is hardly new, many readers likely don’t know much about Canadian Indians’ difficulties with the English and French. In fact, they were treated as badly as the natives of the Lower 48. The author’s wit and storytelling talent make the book easy to read; more importantly, his humor may keep readers from wanting to scream at the injustices. In his exploration, King roughly categorizes Indians as “dead Indians,” “legal Indians” and “live Indians.” Dead Indians are the stereotypical noble savages clad in buckskin and feathers. Live Indians are literally live and not living up to the dead Indian cliché; legal Indians are those people that the government(s) has declared are live Indians. The author has plenty to say about the white man’s treatment of the land, with environmental issues like the Alberta Tar Sands and the Keystone Pipeline at the top of his how-dumb-can-you-be list. If there are anger and sarcasm in the tales of abuse and sequestered Indian lands, you can’t really blame him.

King’s wife, reading over his shoulder, suggested he had way too many lists. She’s right, but this is still a solid book and a good look at what can be done in the future of Indian-white relations.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8166-8976-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Univ. of Minnesota

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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