Packed with the tangled, riveting detail of the many cases, this is more sensational reading than astute legal analysis—but...

THE NAZI HUNTERS

A detailed look at the grim work of tracking Nazis over the decades since World War II.

Formerly the Hong Kong bureau chief for Newsweek, Nagorski (Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power, 2012, etc.) has interviewed some of the protagonists in this long journey to bring to justice Nazis still at large—e.g., former Austrian secretary general of the U.N., Kurt Waldheim, evidence of whose former work for the Wehrmacht in the Balkans emerged during his run for Austrian president in 1986. Nagorski tracks how the initial quest for vengeance on the captured Nazis by the victors gave way to the Allied (specifically American) insistence that establishing a historical record in a public trial was as important as punishing the guilty. The author emphasizes the little-known military trial held at Dachau on Nov. 13, 1945, just prior to the International Military Tribunal held at Nuremberg, featuring the effectively low-key chief prosecutor William Denson, who established that the SS officers of the camp were part of a “common design” to commit criminal acts in a “machinery of extermination,” and thus it was not necessary to prove specific crimes committed by each. Subsequent trials, such as at Nuremberg, relied on the incriminating documents of the Germans themselves rather than eyewitness accounts such as those used by Denson. While the apprehension, trial, and execution of actual Nazis only skimmed the surface, the whole process, as Nagorski notes, functioned as a symbolic act of reckoning. It forced the German public to assimilate the chilling, technical details of those running the camps when interest in the trials began to flag in the 1950s. Simon Wiesenthal, Mossad chief Isser Harel, Jan Sehn, and Elizabeth Holtzman, among others, were instrumental in tracking notorious criminals like Adolf Eichmann and Klaus Barbie to the finish. At the beginning of the book, the author provides a helpful list of the “hunters” and the “hunted.”

Packed with the tangled, riveting detail of the many cases, this is more sensational reading than astute legal analysis—but absorbing nonetheless.

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4767-7186-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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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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