An impressive cache of primary-source documents, normally the province of scholars, presented here in an entertaining,...

REPORTING THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR

BEFORE IT WAS HISTORY, IT WAS NEWS

In his first book project, Andrlik, the curator and publisher of Raglinen.com, an online archive of rare newspapers, presents an intriguing real-time look at the American Revolution.

To supply context and analysis, the author enlists a few dozen other Revolutionary War scholars—some, such as Bruce Chadwick, Ray Raphael and Thomas Fleming, will be well-known to war buffs—for essays and remarks elucidating the excerpts from 18th-century newspapers handsomely reproduced here. He reminds us “there are no photographs of the American Revolution,” that newspapers remain the closest thing we have to snapshots of the conflict as it developed. Focusing on the years 1763 to 1783 and drawing on publications from both sides of the Atlantic, this lavishly illustrated volume contains reporting on the war’s signal battles, Lexington and Concord to Yorktown, and many lesser engagements as well. It covers controversies over Parliament’s Sugar, Stamp, and Townsend Acts, reported from vastly different perspectives in, say, the Pennsylvania Gazette or the London Chronicle. In the 18th century, printers scrambled for information, often poaching private letters or plagiarizing each other for accounts of the Boston Tea Party, Benedict Arnold’s treason, the alliance between France and America, or Washington’s resignation of his commission. Andrlik artfully directs readers’ eyes to these and hundreds of other events reported on the page right next to advertisements for hogsheads of “Jamaica Spirit,” the sale of a wooden tenement, a plea for “200 barrels of pork,” or a notice about a “strayed or stolen” brown cow. As they accumulate, these pages charmingly return us to a troublesome time when average people were leading their lives as close to normal as they could manage, when our war for independence was breaking news, the outcome far from certain.

An impressive cache of primary-source documents, normally the province of scholars, presented here in an entertaining, aesthetically pleasing fashion guaranteed to entice general readers.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4022-6967-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 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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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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