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 and illustrated with previously unpublished photographs from the royal archives.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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1993



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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