Doyle’s exhaustive research and intense narrative should reach beyond the target audience of those who pursue civil rights...

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AN AMERICAN INSURRECTION

THE BATTLE OF OXFORD, MISSISSIPPI, 1962

An account of the conflict between federal forces and Governor Ross Barnett’s state police, along with thousands of civilians, over the racial integration of the all-white University of Mississippi in 1962.

Doyle, award-winning documentary producer and writer (Inside the Oval Office, 1999, etc.), resurrects the slide toward civil war in the fall of 1962 as Mississippi Governor Barnett and his state police troopers took a highly publicized stand against President Kennedy’s order to integrate the University of Mississippi. He introduces readers to young James Meredith, a US Army veteran and dedicated civil-rights activist, whose pursuit of entrance at the segregated university resulted in a federal court order requiring its racial integration. Doyle argues that Meredith’s insistence on attending the university in the face of militant state opposition and personal death threats forced Barnett and Kennedy to enter into backroom negotiations that would allow the governor to meet federal integration requirements and still save face. But each time federal marshals escorted Meredith to Oxford, Mississippi, to register for classes, Barnett broke his trust with the president, defying him with a show of force. Doyle shows how, as this pattern repeated itself, both sides caused southern anxiety to escalate to the point of hysteria. As federal authorities finally succeeded in moving Meredith into the university dorms, thousands of armed southerners converged on the campus to confront the US marshals responsible for the student’s safety. From the moment the mob fired the first shots at US marshals, Doyle shows how an American college campus turned into a full-scale battlefield. His vivid depiction of the terror and chaos that expanded across the city suggests that the our Civil War finally ended only as US National Guard and Army Airborne troops reestablished order in Oxford, Mississippi, in 1962.

Doyle’s exhaustive research and intense narrative should reach beyond the target audience of those who pursue civil rights and military issues.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-49969-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 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...

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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