Regrettably timely reading that also makes a welcome contribution to the literature of strife.

WAR WITHOUT END

ISRAELIS, PALESTINIANS, AND THE STRUGGLE FOR A PROMISED LAND

An excellent, balanced survey of the troubled relations between Middle East neighbors over the last half-century.

Scanning the news of the latest intifada, La Guardia, a correspondent and editor for London’s Daily Telegraph, pointedly wonders, “How did it all go so wrong? How did the hope engendered by that handshake between Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin on the South Lawn of the White House turn to despair?” He gives a protracted, thoughtful answer that finds fault on many sides of the long struggle between Israel and Palestine—many sides, for there are not just two, as he takes pains to show. Neither Israel nor the Palestinian community is in any way monolithic, and neighboring countries have occasionally attempted to find advantage in their endless troubles and sometimes been caught up in the mess. For example, La Guardia writes, the Palestinian Black September terrorist movement, responsible for the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics, originally devoted itself to waging war on Jordan, whose army had massacred thousands of Palestinians during an uprising two years earlier. Mixing historical narrative with on-the-ground reportage, the author addresses such issues as the Israeli right’s campaign of expansion into Palestinian territories, the virulent anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial of the Arab press, the conflict between Zionists and Jewish fundamentalists, power struggles within the Palestinian Authority (one Palestinian leader observes that the latest intifada is a rebellion against both Israel and Arafat), and the baffling bonds that keep Israelis and Palestinians at such close quarters despite all the hatred. None of what La Guardia turns up is hopeful, and none of it inspires much confidence in the leadership on either side of the battle.

Regrettably timely reading that also makes a welcome contribution to the literature of strife.

Pub Date: June 17, 2002

ISBN: 0-312-27669-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2002

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

Thus the second most costly war in American history, whose “outcome seemed little short of a miracle.” A sterling account.

1776

A master storyteller’s character-driven account of a storied year in the American Revolution.

Against world systems, economic determinist and other external-cause schools of historical thought, McCullough (John Adams, 2001, etc.) has an old-fashioned fondness for the great- (and not-so-great) man tradition, which may not have much explanatory power but almost always yields better-written books. McCullough opens with a courteous nod to the customary villain in the story of American independence, George III, who turns out to be a pleasant and artistically inclined fellow who relied on poor advice; his Westmoreland, for instance, was a British general named Grant who boasted that with 5,000 soldiers he “could march from one end of the American continent to the other.” Other British officers agitated for peace, even as George wondered why Americans would not understand that to be a British subject was to be free by definition. Against these men stood arrayed a rebel army that was, at the least, unimpressive; McCullough observes that New Englanders, for instance, considered washing clothes to be women’s work and so wore filthy clothes until they rotted, with the result that Burgoyne and company had a point in thinking the Continentals a bunch of ragamuffins. The Americans’ military fortunes were none too good for much of 1776, the year of the Declaration; at the slowly unfolding battle for control over New York, George Washington was moved to despair at the sight of sometimes drunk soldiers running from the enemy and of their officers “who, instead of attending to their duty, had stood gazing like bumpkins” at the spectacle. For a man such as Washington, to be a laughingstock was the supreme insult, but the British were driven by other motives than to irritate the general—not least of them reluctance to give up a rich, fertile and beautiful land that, McCullough notes, was providing the world’s highest standard of living in 1776.

Thus the second most costly war in American history, whose “outcome seemed little short of a miracle.” A sterling account.

Pub Date: June 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7432-2671-2

Page Count: 656

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

Did you like this book?

more