Promethean prose poet Wolfe. . . One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and never-ever-never-would-come-could-come down Ken Kesey. . . . A head combination if there ever was one. Kesey was "The Chief," pre-Haight, pre-Hippy, the floating plastic fantastic West Coast apostle of the impossible who so ordained that LSD was the KEY!!! and put together a band of Merry Pranksters whose name became synonymous with the freak-out of all life-styles. This is the story of how Kesey almost became God and wow-why-not-he-was-was-into-every-thing with Mountain Girl and Gretchen Fetchen the Slime Queen and the Hermit and Black Maria and Ned Cassady (who first appeared On the Road and won't Kerouac get the jealous bends over this trip) and Freewheeling Frank (Yes!. . . he's the one on the Grove list) and Owsley (mad and paranoid manufacturer of the sacrament) and just all those near and now famous. And didn't he create the psychedelic bus with sound and strobe and just vats of Day-Glo and blow those work-a-daddy minds all the way across country with the pranksters zonked on acid and speed and tokes and all the while makin' this spontaneous here and Now movie for miles and miles. . . and didn't he invite the HeWs Angels to a party that had the cops and community up-tight all right. . . and didn't he start the Acid tests and bonk out all the straights on electric Kool-Aid and wasn't he busted and didn't he escape to Mexico and come back as What Else "Captain Marvel." And Wolfe trips along until the Cuckoo's grounded. . . a sorry, sad, sordid head-ache. But a mad master portrait for Wolfe.

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 1968

ISBN: 031242759X

Page Count: 436

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1968

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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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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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