Short, old-fashioned, descriptive memories of the South from one man’s perspective.

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GEORGIALINA

A SOUTHLAND AS WE KNEW IT

A Southern writer reminisces about the South.

In these short essays, Poland (Classic Carolina Road Trips from Columbia, 2014, etc.), who grew up in Georgia and South Carolina, recounts the highs and lows of his Southern childhood and laments the loss of traditions that have disappeared since he was a child. He writes about the use of the joggling board as a courting method, when people swept their yards instead of mowing the grass, and how “no self-respecting society woman was without her fan [in church] when a hot and humid Sunday rolled around.” The author chronicles his wanderings of dirt roads in search of old corn mills and white lightning, or moonshine, explores the way kudzu has taken over vast acres of land, and analyzes why he doesn’t hunt but loves the idea of hunting. The essays are expressive and simple, like a brief conversation between a grandparent and grandchild in which elder seeks to impart a sense of the past to the younger generation before the memories and places fade away or are replaced by strip malls and factories. There is a sense of melancholy throughout the narrative, as Poland relates the history of the land and its people, their traditions, lifestyles, and general Southern culture. He urges readers to “cherish today, but never forget the past. It helped make us who we are.” For those who love tidbits about the olden days in the Deep South, Poland’s slow-moving prose will rekindle fond memories, and readers looking for a taste of what the South once was before industrialization and commercialization moved into the region will find pleasing moments to ponder.

Short, old-fashioned, descriptive memories of the South from one man’s perspective.

Pub Date: Nov. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-61117-594-3

Page Count: 168

Publisher: Univ. of South Carolina

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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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 PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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