How the British royal family was raised, from the Queen to her grandchildren, told by a seasoned Windsor watcher (Royal Style, 1988, etc.) and illustrated with previously unpublished photographs from the royal archives. George V, the Queen's grandfather, once said, ``My father was frightened of his father, I was frightened of my father, and I'm damned well going to see that my children are frightened of me.'' Here, Seward, editor of England's Majesty magazine, follows the evolution in royal thinking and practice from George's era (his eldest son, Edward, hated his father, abdicated, and married American divorcÇe Wallace Simpson), through that of the Queen, who was less distant and even sent her children out to ``public'' schools, down to the trendy ideas of Princess Diana. The author repeats much that is known already, but she also draws on her contacts in royal circles and particularly on her interviews with the royal ``nannies.'' These redoubtable women, often from a plebeian background, were the nurses who provided much of the emotional support that their charges could not get from their frequently absent parents, and who even in later years would remain as intimate friends and confidantes. Seward introduces us to a paradoxical world of privilege in which as a boy Prince Edward would wear his older brother's hand-me-downs and where sweets were only for special occasions. Much of the detail here is trivial for all but the most sentimental, yet the reader is occasionally challenged to reflect on the tensions for young people who must after all carry the symbolism of a nation and bear a burden of public duty and media attention that few of us would be willing to face. Anecdotal and at times poignant: of interest mainly to those for whom the intimacies of the British royal family fill an emotional need. (Sixteen pages of color and b&w photos—not seen) (First serial to National Enquirer)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 1994

ISBN: 0-312-10533-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1993

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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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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