A compelling, exciting adventure of a hard-driving American force, “the first Allied unit to punch through the West Wall and...

SPEARHEAD

THE WORLD WAR II ODYSSEY OF AN AMERICAN TANK GUNNER

An in-the-moment re-creation of the Allied breakthrough of the West Wall into Nazi Germany by a remarkable cadre of tank crewmen of the 3rd Armored Division.

Based on testimony from several surviving veterans—both American and German—military writer Makos (Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice, 2015, etc.) presents the true story of this intrepid division, which Gen. Omar Bradley described as having led the endgame against the beleaguered Germans across Europe “with a serious and grim intensity.” The primary hero of this tale is Cpl. Clarence Smoyer, who evolved in his tank duties from being a gunner on an aging Sherman tank, dodging superior Panthers through the fields of occupied Belgium, to commanding the first Pershing in a spectacular showdown into Cologne, Germany, in spring 1945. It was the beginning of the end for Germany in the months after the D-Day landings, and the 3rd Armored Division was leading the breakout across northern France, thus earning the name “Spearhead” Division. With illustrations and photos, Makos offers comparisons between the unpopular and outgunned Shermans and the seemingly invulnerable Panthers and Tigers. However, “a secret weapon” had just arrived from America in the form of the Pershing tank, introduced by the legendary commander Maj. Gen. Maurice Rose, who led the Spearhead Division. In it, Smoyer would charge into Germany’s fortress city, Cologne. However, as the author writes, “this is not a story about machines, how one tank stacked up against another. This is a story about people.” Through alternating firsthand accounts by Smoyer and a German tank crewman, Makos reveals much about the German determination to thwart the Allies during the final Battle of the Bulge as well as the weary civilian population’s quick turn to fraternization once the game was over.

A compelling, exciting adventure of a hard-driving American force, “the first Allied unit to punch through the West Wall and to also capture a German town.”

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8041-7672-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

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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