A well-written, guilt-free treat for devoted royal family-watchers—whose numbers are, of course, legion.

A surprisingly fresh addition to the mountain of biographies of the late Princess of Wales—this one focusing on her relations with the Queen.

Seward, a longtime correspondent on matters royal and editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine (and, as it happens, the last journalist to interview Di), has obvious sympathy for the Princess. But she has greater sympathy, it would seem, for the long-suffering Queen Elizabeth II, who came to power in the shadow of scandal, worked for decades to give England a ruler of whom it could be proud—or, at least, not ashamed—and then had to endure the public posturings of her eldest son's petulant, bulimic, and generally uncooperative bride. (To her credit, as the author ably demonstrates, Di was nowhere near as awful as Fergie, who fueled Fleet Street tabloids with her self-serving antics.) Contending with Di (who emerges in these pages as both a confused, troubled soul and an extremely shrewd, self-aware schemer) could not have been very pleasant for the Queen, who was sometimes distant but even shrewder than her daughter-in-law (and, to gauge by Seward's account, a font of patience). Even so, the Queen seems to have acquired a little more humanity in grappling with Di's all-too-human troubles, “excusing her indiscretions, making allowance for her illness, overlooking her outbursts, taking note of her grievances, ignoring the way she tried to claim center stage,” and their 15-year-long association had tangible effects on the way the royal family conducts itself today (its budget downsized, for example, by a populist government that took Di's side in the long struggle for power that only ended with her death in 1997).

A well-written, guilt-free treat for devoted royal family-watchers—whose numbers are, of course, legion.

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-55970-561-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Arcade

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2001


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


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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