A caustic, subjective sociological case study.



Clean energy meets serious opposition in this partisan account of an effort to harvest wind power off the coast of Nantucket.

Windmills placed in the waters around Cape Cod might seem like a good way to supplement the power supply for New England, an area with high energy costs as well as a history of waters poisoned by petroleum spills and air polluted by smokestacks. But when entrepreneur Jim Gordon proposed to build a field of wind turbines five miles from the shores of Nantucket and its ritzy summer homes, NIMBY fury burst forth. It would be bad for the birds and the whales, said local yachtsmen, unsupported by facts. The core objection of celebrity opponents like historian David McCullough was that Cape Wind would be “visual pollution,” an unwelcome blot on the seascapes enjoyed from their verandahs or boats. Investigative journalist Williams and Providence Journal editor Whitcomb rake some fine muck to conclude that, “money and corrupt government officials are hijacking our nation’s economic and environmental future.” From the start, their sympathies are clear: The heroes striving to build Cape Wind talk straight; the bad guys trying to block it rave and fulminate. Although the authors conscientiously explain the technology involved, their main focus is on the maelstrom of money and politics in which an entrenched elite wielded undue power against a clean energy source. The battle over Cape Wind was fought through town meetings, state government, courtrooms and across party lines in the U.S. Congress; Governor Mitt Romney and some of the Kennedy clan were among the major players. The book ends, but the story is not over. More than five years after they were first proposed, the Cape Wind turbines are not yet built, but neither is the project dead.

A caustic, subjective sociological case study.

Pub Date: May 7, 2007

ISBN: 1-58648-397-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2007

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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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Thus the second most costly war in American history, whose “outcome seemed little short of a miracle.” A sterling account.


A master storyteller’s character-driven account of a storied year in the American Revolution.

Against world systems, economic determinist and other external-cause schools of historical thought, McCullough (John Adams, 2001, etc.) has an old-fashioned fondness for the great- (and not-so-great) man tradition, which may not have much explanatory power but almost always yields better-written books. McCullough opens with a courteous nod to the customary villain in the story of American independence, George III, who turns out to be a pleasant and artistically inclined fellow who relied on poor advice; his Westmoreland, for instance, was a British general named Grant who boasted that with 5,000 soldiers he “could march from one end of the American continent to the other.” Other British officers agitated for peace, even as George wondered why Americans would not understand that to be a British subject was to be free by definition. Against these men stood arrayed a rebel army that was, at the least, unimpressive; McCullough observes that New Englanders, for instance, considered washing clothes to be women’s work and so wore filthy clothes until they rotted, with the result that Burgoyne and company had a point in thinking the Continentals a bunch of ragamuffins. The Americans’ military fortunes were none too good for much of 1776, the year of the Declaration; at the slowly unfolding battle for control over New York, George Washington was moved to despair at the sight of sometimes drunk soldiers running from the enemy and of their officers “who, instead of attending to their duty, had stood gazing like bumpkins” at the spectacle. For a man such as Washington, to be a laughingstock was the supreme insult, but the British were driven by other motives than to irritate the general—not least of them reluctance to give up a rich, fertile and beautiful land that, McCullough notes, was providing the world’s highest standard of living in 1776.

Thus the second most costly war in American history, whose “outcome seemed little short of a miracle.” A sterling account.

Pub Date: June 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7432-2671-2

Page Count: 656

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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