An important story with broad ramifications.




According to veteran New York Times reporter and foreign correspondent DePalma (The Man Who Invented Fidel: Castro, Cuba, and Herbert L. Matthews of the New York Times, 2006, etc.), in the aftermath of 9/11, even those “most experienced at rescue” made decisions that had tragic consequences.

The author, a member of the team that wrote the Pulitzer Prize–winning series “Portraits of Grief,” looks at the damage inflicted by the failure to adequately protect firefighters, police, construction workers and others in the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center. He rejects any suggestion that there was a conspiracy by the Bush administration or New York City officials “to put profit ahead of people’s health” or “to hide the enormity of what happened.” However, he believes that a series of decisions, while neither outright subterfuge nor deliberate distortion of the facts, underestimated the danger from the toxic dust that covered the area of the explosion and buildings in the immediate neighborhood, needlessly exposing people to unnecessary health risks. “Some made in haste, some made with arrogance,” these decisions “favored the recovery of the city over the recovery of its people,” even though health-department and EPA officials, as well as firefighters, recognized that the dust was in all likelihood extremely toxic. Respirators were made available on-site, but they were unwieldy; rescue workers were not encouraged to wear them, and they worked long hours without medical supervision. The heroic frenzy of the original rescue effort was extended to the clean-up without regard to workers’ safety. Front-page headlines that exposed the dangers were disputed by the mayor, though they later proved to be accurate. A follow-up study of ground-zero workers released in 2006 estimated that seven out of ten suffered from “severe respiratory problems that persisted far longer than expected,” and limited studies indicate higher-than-expected mortality among that population.

An important story with broad ramifications.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-13-138566-5

Page Count: 330

Publisher: FT Press/Pearson

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2010

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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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