Sure to provoke a good deal of hissing as well as applause.

DEFENDING ISRAEL

THE STORY OF MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MY MOST CHALLENGING CLIENT

The highly visible attorney seeks “to influence, in a positive direction, [the] discernible shift away from bipartisan support for the Middle East’s only democracy and America’s most reliable ally.”

Never one to shy away from attention, Dershowitz (The Case Against Impeaching Trump, 2018, etc.) has always liked a good argument, and he has found plenty of fodder in Israeli policies over the decades. Mostly, he has taken on the role of “defending Israel in the court of public opinion,” mainly in terms of defending Israel’s security and right to exist. The author writes clearly about how important the founding of the state was to him and his Zionist family: “There was never a time that Israel was not part of my consciousness.” In the late 1960s and early ’70s, Dershowitz was a part of many hot-button cases, including those involving anti-war protesters and capital punishment. (Later, of course, he was part of the “dream team” assembled to defend O.J. Simpson in his murder trial.) In fighting for Israel on the public stage, the author has often condemned the legitimization, by some elements of the political left, of Palestinian aggression—yet he also defends “the right of those who demonized Israel…to express their hateful views.” This distinction of basic civil rights has become personal in recent years, as students on college campuses have attempted to ban Dershowitz from speaking engagements. While the author maintains that “criticizing Israel’s settlement and occupation policies is fair game,” he is appalled by the disproportionality of world condemnation, as was expressed in the 2008 Goldstone Report by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, which Dershowitz skewered. Recently, he writes, “the degree of condemnation and demonization is all out of proportion to what is warranted,” especially regarding what he sees as a “new anti-Semitism” sweeping American campuses. Unbowed and proud, Dershowitz leaves readers with a singing endorsement of “the most successful new nation that has been born—really reborn—during the past century.”

Sure to provoke a good deal of hissing as well as applause.

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-17996-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: All Points/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2019

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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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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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