A well-done oral history from Santoli (Everything We Had, 1981), showing why our military was much more effective in the Persian Gulf than in Vietnam. Luminaries such as Colin Powell, Secretary of the Navy James Webb, and lesser-knowns reveal here how confidence, discipline, and integrity were restored to the military after the low of Vietnam and the even lower low of the immediate post-Vietnam era. Santoli (himself a vet first travels back to wartime Vietnam, then visits the morass of the ``Wilderness Years''—a ``bad trip'' through the mid- and late-70's that's marked by rampant racial unrest, lack of military leadership (during the war too many NCOs had been given direct commissions; in turn, young or incompetent older men were made into staff NCOs), cutbacks, and plain poor morale. President Carter undermined the Shah, but a positive evolved out of the hostage debacle as the American public regained its respect for national security. Then, in the early 80's, under Commandant Alfred Gray, the Marine Corps changed over to a revolutionary new battle doctrine. Grenada proved a turning point when, for the first time since before Vietnam, an American President gave the military a free hand—which gave Schwarzkopf and others confidence that carried over to Panama and Desert Storm. After hashing over the war against Iraq, Santoli's subjects discuss our military future, advocating using the armed forces to prevent the spread of regional ``brushfire'' wars, counterterrorism, and drug- and illegal weapons-dealing. Some contend that lessons learned from Vietnam and Desert Storm may not apply to crises like Bosnia. How will the military cope? By maintaining the best possible leadership at the top, says Secretary Webb. Required reading for anyone seeking a valid perspective on America's military over the past three decades. (Eight-page photo insert—not seen)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-345-37498-3

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1993

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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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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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