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Kidd’s biography awakens us to the depths of Henry’s devotion to liberty and small government.

A deeper look at Patrick Henry.

Henry was a true radical, and his “give me liberty or give me death” speech perfectly illustrated his politics and his struggle for liberty and religious freedom. Moved by the Great Awakening, he agreed with the evangelical preachers who railed against the tax-supported Anglican Church. While he never moved away from the established church, he took up the cause of religious freedom and fought to include it in the Bill of Rights. His speeches against slavery belied his ownership and purchase of slaves throughout his life, illustrative of his moral standings versus his real-life efforts for financial success. His entry into the House of Burgesses was noteworthy because of his speech against the Stamp Act, which many feel instigated the struggle for independence. Henry was a brilliant debater, but in politics he had no patience for deliberation. He was a motivator, not an organizer. Kidd (History/Baylor Univ.; God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution, 2010) illustrates the connections between the revolution, religion and politics. Henry spoke eloquently about the need for virtue and moral courage in his compatriots, even as they refused to join the Continental Army, and the Great Awakening had a deep affect on him. The great preachers trained him to be the most effective orator of the revolutionary period. He surely would have been president had he not so often retired to his law practice, farming and land speculation. His quest for greater riches caused him to refuse appointments and withdraw from politics on a regular basis.

Kidd’s biography awakens us to the depths of Henry’s devotion to liberty and small government.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-465-00928-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Basic Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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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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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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