A "filial and objective" biography of Winston S. Churchill's only son, Randolph, by Randolph's son. Randolph Churchill, named for a grandfather who was an important parliamentary leader in the 1880s, was born to Winston Churchill and his wife, Clementine, in London in 1911. Winston Churchill, who had been a soldier and a successful journalist, was already immersed in his brilliant political career at the time of Randolph's birth, and the early pages of this biography are a narrative of Winston Churchill's career as home secretary and first lord of the admiralty, including the catastrophic failure of the Gallipoli campaign, with which Winston, became identified, a tragedy that became indelibly imprinted on the small boy's memory. Randolph grew up in an atmosphere dominated by the powerful intellect and forceful personality of his father. Winston, for his part, tried his best to be the loving parent to Randolph that his own father had never been to him. Educated at Eton and Oxford, Randolph was, like his father, an indifferent student with evident gifts, but unlike Winston he developed habits of indolence and a quarrelsome, arrogant streak that marked his adult personality. Eventually he followed his father into politics and journalism; he had great success with the latter in the 1930s, but less with the former, failing three times as a Conservative candidate to achieve election to Parliament, but finally becoming MP from Preston as WW II neared. Having married Pamela Digby (later to be Mrs. Averell Harriman), he served in the war with the Desert Army and in the Balkans. After the war, he wrote numerous books, including two volumes of a well-regarded biography of his father. He died in 1968. Randolph's career is a historical footnote, but the author's close examination of his father's complex relationship with Winston Churchill, augmented with excerpts from their voluminous correspondence, make this a valuable contribution to Churchill scholarship.

Pub Date: June 15, 1997

ISBN: 0-297-81640-3

Page Count: 514

Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1997

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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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