A well-researched and -written account of an often overlooked figure in the history of the Indian Wars.



Sharply honed life of the only American Indian leader to definitively beat the United States in war, short-lived though the defeat might have been.

Popular military historians Drury and Clavin (Last Men Out: The True Story of America's Heroic Final Hours in Vietnam, 2011, etc.) offer a battle-and-skirmish account of Sioux leader Red Cloud’s war on the whites who invaded the Great Plains, though their narrative is strong on ethnohistorical matters as well. When a white officer sputtered “Horseshit” against Red Cloud’s claim that the Sioux had an ancestral claim to the Black Hills, for instance, the authors are able to explain that, be that as it may, the Sioux had developed an emergence story to back up their case—one that, as it happened, had its first mention on the Sioux calendar “the summer before America’s Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence.” Drury and Clavin frame their story with what has been called the Fetterman Massacre (here, better put, the Fetterman Fight), in 1866, when an unfortunate Army officer led his command into a trap that led to their deaths, but they pack it with details taken from many episodes in the early history of Sioux relations with the whites, as well as with other tribes. They credit Red Cloud with forming a powerful alliance of peoples, among them the Cheyenne and Shoshone, the only way the Indians could resist white encroachment into their homeland. Even so, as the authors note, when Red Cloud was invited to Washington to sign a peace treaty and was taken to a federal arsenal to see the assembled weaponry available to his enemy, he recognized that the days of his people’s suzerainty were numbered, even as he continued to mount “the most impressive campaign in the annals of Indian warfare,” which lasted from 1866 to 1868.

A well-researched and -written account of an often overlooked figure in the history of the Indian Wars.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4516-5466-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2013

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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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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.



Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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