Time has not been kind to the Philistines. Thanks to sketchy references in the Bible, they're remembered, if at all, as a warlike race of uncouth barbarians notable mainly for producing such villains as Delilah and Goliath. As the archaeologist authors of the fascinating work at hand make clear, however, folkloric perceptions of the Philistines fall well short of gospel truth. Having spent over 30 years investigating one of biblical history's greatest mysteries—the identity of the invaders whose protracted conflict with Israelites made their very name synonymous with brutishness—the Dothans are able to provide a partial portrait of these so-called ``People of the Sea.'' While much remains to be learned of their language and origins, the Philistines were almost certainly part of an exodus from the Aegean Basin during the political/population upheavals that marked the transition from the Bronze to the Iron Age. Defeated in battle by Egypt's Ramses III early in the 12th century B.C., the Philistines were settled along the southern coast of Canaan, claiming as their homeland an area extending from Gaza to modern Tel Aviv. On the evidence of the material unearthed at excavation sites throughout the region, the authors conclude that Philistines brought with them an advanced culture that was strikingly enriched by contacts with city-states in every corner of the ancient Mediterranean world. The Dothans have played prominent roles in recent discoveries about the Philistines, and, accordingly, they are remarkably well qualified to combine low-key accounts of their own contributions with those of other scholars (past as well as present) to shed considerable light on a classically lost civilization whose realities have proved greatly at odds with its latter-day image. Authoritative, accessible, absorbing. (Photos, maps, 16-page color insert—not seen.)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-02-532261-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1992

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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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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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