An unusually pleasing and affecting guide to Europe through the eyes of two tourists separated by more than 230 years.

IN PURSUIT OF JEFFERSON

TRAVELING THROUGH EUROPE WITH THE MOST PERPLEXING FOUNDING FATHER

This jaunty, inventive approach to an old question—who was Thomas Jefferson?—turns out to be a wise, readable, and altogether satisfying work.

In his first book, Baxter relates his numerous European journeys following in Jefferson’s footsteps, guided by the Virginian’s little-known 1788 book, Hints to Americans Traveling in Europe. Accompanied by his wife and children, the author traveled through England and much of Western Europe. Voraciously curious, he visited farms, vineyards, and towns while observing, among other things, architecture, cheese making, and viticulture, all with the engaging ingenuousness of a youngster. Baxter also unhesitatingly departed from Jefferson’s Hintsto follow his guide’s itineraries in the eastern U.S. Open to everything, the author remained full of good humor—until, with growing discomfort, he realized that the life and ease of his guide and hero was at every turn built on slavery. Consequently, this often chatty, light-spirited book about a citizen scientist turns into a somber reflection on the contradiction at the heart of American history. Readers shouldn’t expect the measured gravity of the Odysseyor the bite of Paul Theroux’s travelogues. This is travel writing in a different mode: chatty, sometimes corny, unfailingly warmhearted. Baxter’s earnestness, most evident in his encounters with the people that he met along the way, was always grounded in a serious purpose—to see and learn what Jefferson saw and learned. The author also takes on another aim: to figure out how to make sense in the early 21st century of a slaveholding author who wrote a world-historical testament to freedom. Here, Baxter, his easy nature sobered, is at his honest and most candid best. What’s particularly refreshing is that he captures his own amateur historian’s growth in knowledge, then in confusion, and finally in rueful, disenthralled acknowledgement of the inconsistencies, hypocrisy, blindness, and selfishness that existed side by side with Jefferson’s greatness.

An unusually pleasing and affecting guide to Europe through the eyes of two tourists separated by more than 230 years.

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72822-538-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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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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For Patterson fans who can’t get enough.

THE DEFENSE LAWYER

THE BARRY SLOTNICK STORY

The Patterson publishing machine clanks its way into the nonfiction aisles in this lumbering courtroom drama.

Barry Slotnick made a considerable fortune and reputation as a defense attorney who had a long list of controversial clients, including mob boss John Gotti and Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega. An “urbane lawyer known for his twenty-five-hundred-dollar Fioravanti suits, he was not unacquainted with violence,” write Patterson and Wallace. One of his early cases, indeed, involved a group of Jewish Defense League members who allegedly blew up a Broadway producer’s office, killing a woman who worked there. Slotnick’s defense was a standard confuse-the-jury ploy, but it worked. He put similar tactics to work in his defense of Bernhard Goetz, the “subway shooter” whose trial made international news. The authors open after that trial had concluded in yet another Slotnick win, and with a sensational incident: He was attacked by a masked man who beat him with a baseball bat. The evidence is sketchy, but it seems to place the attack in the hands of organized crime—perhaps even Gotti himself. No matter: Slotnick, “who saw himself as the foe of the all-powerful government” and “liberty’s last champion,” was soon back to representing clients including Radovan Karadžić, the murderous Bosnian Serb who was eventually imprisoned for having committed genocide; Dewi Sukarno, the widow of Indonesia’s similarly bloodstained president, “arrested for slashing the face of a fellow socialite with a broken champagne glass at a party in Aspen”; and Melania Trump, who had chosen Slotnick “to handle her prenup.” In the hands of a John Grisham, the story might have come to life, but while Patterson does a serviceable if cliché-ridden job of recounting Slotnick’s career, he fails to give readers much reason to admire the man.

For Patterson fans who can’t get enough.

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49437-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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