An ever-upbeat message from the well-connected yet modest veteran journalist.

THE TIME OF OUR LIVES

A CONVERSATION ABOUT AMERICA

The venerable newscaster administers advice for our ailing nation.

Brokaw (Boom!: Voices of the Sixties Personal Reflections on the ’60s and Today, 2007, etc.) jumps into triage mode with this tenderhearted, nostalgic journalistic roundup, just in time for the upcoming presidential election. The author sounds the themes familiar to readers of his Greatest Generation (1998) and other works—e.g., that the United States is an immigrant nation and derives its strength from the enterprising mix, that Americans need to learn more science and math to compete with China and Korea, as well as embrace thriftier habits and volunteer for public service. Brokaw and his wife are grandparents now, and the author moves in an exalted retirement that allows him to reflect on the collision of generations throughout the decades. He harkens back continually to the values instilled in him growing up in South Dakota in the ’50s, with frugal parents who had come through the Depression and were determined to give their children more than they had. As a  result, his “bridge generation” tended to be somewhat consumerist, “a little giddy by what we were earning and all the new opportunities to spend.” Brokaw is especially good at working the human-interest angle; he includes telling vignettes about people who’ve been bankrupt by the housing bubble, and others who have thrown their resources, money and talent into public service and community activism. Each chapter sounds a nostalgic theme—e.g., “Stepping Up and Signing Up” or “Balancing the Book of Life”—to assert how best to tap back into the rosy themes that made America great, as if this past can be regained.

An ever-upbeat message from the well-connected yet modest veteran journalist.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4000-6458-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 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...

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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