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



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

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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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