A rich, multifaceted work showing how the U.S. has always been a multiracial nation.



A thoroughgoing work of scholarship that debunks many myths about the American Revolution by incorporating the full story involving Native Americans, African Americans, and women as participants.

In his latest, Bancroft Prize–winning historian Holton, author of Unruly Americans (2007) and other acclaimed works of Revolutionary era history, delineates the story of the conflict in all its complexity, contradictions, and “multiple dimensions.” He begins with the lessons of the French and Indian War, when Britain chased France out of North America, during which arose interest groups focused on taxes, trade, territory, treasury notes, and other issues. It also taught the colonists, who were largely pro-British, the value of the land they were stealing from Indigenous peoples. Holton masterfully describes the slow process of accepting independence from the mother country. The poor embraced the idea of participation in a democracy more enthusiastically than the wealthy, who had reservations about rule by a rowdy commonwealth and fear of republicanism. White America was deeply divided and harbored a distinct fear of chaos and disorder, especially slave uprisings. In this “hidden history,” Holton emphasizes the crucial role of women in effecting a boycott of British goods and acting as spies for the rebels as well as fighting alongside husbands and other family members. He also highlights the contributions of Native Americans and African American troops. Through a painstaking, immensely readable chronological study, the author guides readers through specific elements of the war, including George Washington’s early mistakes and defensive actions, horrendous fighting conditions, disease, mutiny, treachery, and hard-fought victories. Then the author examines post-Revolutionary America, wracked by debt, recession, and a free Black population battling oppression, and the heady inclusive language of the Declaration of Independence and states’ constitutions, which contrasted with the reality of a system grounded in slavery. For its welcome exploration of often forgotten Revolutionary contributions, file this alongside Alan Taylor’s American Revolutions (2016) and Claudio Saunt’s West of the Revolution (2014).

A rich, multifaceted work showing how the U.S. has always been a multiracial nation.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4767-5037-8

Page Count: 800

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 7, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 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...


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 well-documented and enlightened portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt for our times.

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A comprehensive exploration of one of the most influential women of the last century.

The accomplishments of Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) were widespread and substantial, and her trailblazing actions in support of social justice and global peace resonate powerfully in our current moment. Her remarkable life has been extensively documented in a host of acclaimed biographies, including Blanche Wiesen Cook’s excellent three-volume life. Eleanor was also a highly prolific writer in her own right; through memoirs, essays, and letters, she continuously documented experiences and advancing ideas. In the most expansive one-volume portrait to date, Michaelis offers a fresh perspective on some well-worn territory—e.g., Eleanor’s unconventional marriage to Franklin and her progressively charged relationships with men and women, including her intimacy with newspaper reporter Lorena Hickok. The author paints a compelling portrait of Eleanor’s life as an evolving journey of transformation, lingering on the significant episodes to shed nuance on her circumstances and the players involved. Eleanor’s privileged yet dysfunctional childhood was marked by the erratic behavior and early deaths of her flighty, alcoholic father and socially absorbed mother, and she was left to shuttle among equally neglectful relatives. During her young adulthood, her instinctual need to be useful and do good work attracted the attention of notable mentors, each serving to boost her confidence and fine-tune her political and social convictions, shaping her expanding consciousness. As in his acclaimed biography of Charles Schulz, Michaelis displays his nimble storytelling skills, smoothly tracking Eleanor’s ascension from wife and mother to her powerfully influential and controversial role as first lady and continued leadership and activist efforts beyond. Throughout, the author lucidly illuminates the essence of her thinking and objectives. “As Eleanor’s activism evolved,” writes Michaelis, “she did not see herself reaching to solve social problems so much as engaging with individuals to unravel discontinuities between the old order and modernity.”

A well-documented and enlightened portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt for our times.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4391-9201-6

Page Count: 704

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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