Still, by highlighting an often overlooked theater of battle, Edgar provides a solid addition to the Revolutionary War...




A useful study of the Revolutionary War as it played out in a remote—but critically important—region of the southern colonies.

Though critics faulted Roland Emmerich’s recent film The Patriot for attributing actions to the hated British Legion that were in fact those of the SS in WWII, Edgar (History/Univ. of South Carolina) writes that atrocities were many in the South Carolina backcountry: women and children slaughtered, prisoners executed without trial, whole towns put to the torch. Revolutionary Whigs, he allows, were likely to commit excesses in the name of their cause, but the British and their Tory allies were particularly bad actors; as Edgar writes, “if [their] actions had been committed in the 1990s instead of the 1780s, Lord Cornwallis and a number of his subordinates, such as Banastre Tarleton and James Wemyss, would have been indicted by the International Tribunal at the Hague as war criminals.” The British campaign of brutality backfired, however; stirred by the butchery, the leave-me-alone Scots-Irish inhabitants of the backcountry organized and, in time, began to deliver crushing defeats to the once apparently invincible British and their loyalist militia. In the wake of disasters at places like Thicketty Fort, King’s Mountain, and Cowpens, the British eventually retreated to the safety of Charleston, freeing southern armies to engage Cornwallis’s troops in Virginia and eventually to defeat them at Yorktown. The historical facts behind Edgar’s narrative are inherently interesting, but they suffer in the telling: there’s far too much repetition, sometimes pointless anecdotes, and groaners along the lines of “the militia force melted away almost as rapidly as the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz.”

Still, by highlighting an often overlooked theater of battle, Edgar provides a solid addition to the Revolutionary War literature.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-380-97760-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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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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