Effectively argued, though the reader may pause to wonder how the Falashas are doing today.



Suspenseful true tale of how the Falashas of Ethiopia were ransomed from a latter-day pharaoh.

A century and a half ago, British missionaries reported that they had come across a curious spectacle in the high plateau country of northern Ethiopia: an isolated black tribe whose people kept kosher, observed Levitican constraints about menstruation and circumcision, and in every other possible way were observant Jews. Removed from their fellow Jews for hundreds of years, these Falashas (the name means “stranger” in Amharic) nonetheless harbored dreams of returning to Israel. Enter debut author Naim, Israel’s ambassador to Ethiopia in 1990, the year that what would come to be called Operation Solomon occurred. Having arranged the similar ransom of Soviet Jews via Finland, Naim now faced the considerable resistance of Ethiopian dictator Megistu Miriam, who reminded Naim (with some reason) that every Ethiopian had cause to clamor for return to Israel, inasmuch as every Ethiopian was a Jew before converting to Christianity way back in the fourth century. (“He’s a stupid man,” Naim remarked of Mengistu to a colleague. “How did he come to power?” Replied the colleague, “He killed everyone who was in his way.”) American Jews raised $35 million in only three days, Israel made several political concessions, and Naim secured the release of the Falashas from Ethiopia. But the Falashas encountered unforeseen difficulties with integrating into Israeli society, in particular scarcely concealed hostility on the part of the right wing and a general fear of contamination by AIDS or tuberculosis. So chilly was the reception that many older Falashas wanted to return to Ethiopia, jeopardizing Naim’s work—and his carefully constructed argument before the United Nations that the Falashas’ case should “erase the hideous UN resolution equating Zionism with racism.” For all the problems, however, he still views Operation Solomon as a success.

Effectively argued, though the reader may pause to wonder how the Falashas are doing today.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-345-45081-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 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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Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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