A work of fine research, peer review and precise, evenhanded writing that is standing the test of time.

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FOR THE COMMON DEFENSE

A MILITARY HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES FROM 1607 TO 2012

The third edition of this solid, comprehensive military history of the United States, first published in 1984, reworks the era from the Korean War onward and includes the requisite additions wrought by the “global war on terrorism.”

In this clearly structured, concisely written work, Millett (History/Univ. of New Orleans; The War for Korea, 1950-1951, 2010), Maslowski (History/Univ. of Nebraska; Armed with Cameras: The American Military Photographers of World War II, 1993, etc.) and Feis (History/Buena Vista Univ.; Grant's Secret Service, 2002, etc.) proceed chronologically, as the nation’s commitment to civilian control of military policy became more nationalized and competitive with internal growth. The authors move across a wide terrain, including coverage of the colonial militiamen, the forging of the “common defense” by the two branches of the government, legislative and executive, as specified under the Constitution, the country’s national expansion through the Civil War, birth of the American “empire” through the two world wars, and Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. Maslowski has masterly reorganized coverage of the Korean War, which allowed the Truman administration to substitute victory for rearmament in a major way. The war also provided the “political context” for development of NATO and a more active military role in Asia. The authors are stern with President Reagan’s wild-spending “Star Wars” initiative and the “waste, fraud, and abuse in the procurement process”; with Clinton’s “avoiding war and inviting future conflicts”; and with George W. Bush’s inexperience and alarming staff of hawkish neoconservatives. The authors discuss technological innovations, policy and operations in depth, and they urge the Obama administration to manage a policy less dependent on the whims of “domestic politics” and more reliant on “expert advice from their civilian and military professionals.”

A work of fine research, peer review and precise, evenhanded writing that is standing the test of time.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4516-2353-6

Page Count: 736

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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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 PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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