The story of an SS war criminal, seen through the eyes of Holocaust survivors, and how it took 50 years to bring him to justice. Joseph Schwammberger's trial at Stuttgart in 1992 marks the end of an era: in the future, Nazi war criminals will be too old to indict or their victims will be unable to identify them with certainty. Freiwald (freelance journalist) and Mendelsohn (legal counsel for the Simon Wiesenthal Center) base their account on interviews with several of the survivors who gave evidence at Stuttgart. What emerges is both an exercise in Jewish soul- searching and a history of Schwammberger's atrocities. The story gains poignancy as the authors blend the details of Schwammberger's life and those of the survivors, although it's sometimes difficult to sort out what's happening. They stress Schwammberger's ordinariness in order to force us to ponder the terrible enigma of the Holocaust and ask what the concept of justice can mean in the wake of such an enormous ``crime.'' We learn how Schwammberger oversaw the liquidation of the Jews of Rozwadow in Poland and publicly shot their rabbi on Yom Kippur because he had abstained from work on the holy day. And how he went from door to door with his dog and armed guards through the ghetto at Przemysl, using tear gas and smoke to force hundreds to be herded into the trains or to be shot. Schwammberger was arrested at the end of the war, but he escaped and made his way to 50 years of refuge in Argentina. The authors discuss at length the Realpolitik that allowed him to be left in peace. Politics again led to Schwammberger's extradition and arrest. The scene of the survivors confronting their tormentor in court becomes for our authors a paradigm of how Germany—and the world—needs to face the past, work through and digest it, and never repeat it. A grim book that weighs vital questions of guilt, responsibility, and forgiveness.

Pub Date: March 28, 1994

ISBN: 0-393-03503-4

Page Count: 284

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1994

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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