Veteran military historian Tillman (Whirlwind: The Air War Against Japan, 1942–45, 2010, etc.) comprehensively delineates the history of the legendary USS Enterprise (“the Big E”).

Enterprise was America’s ship,” writes the author, “and there will never be another like her.” Through his focus on the famous ship and her crews, he also provides a history of the naval aspects of World War II. As much as possible, Tillman identifies every aviator downed by enemy action, accident or friendly fire, and he offers illuminating details about their lives. The Big E took part in all the major engagements in the Pacific War, and though enemy action forced her from the battlefield three times, she was rebuilt and refitted to come back stronger each time. Her keel was laid down in Norfolk, Va., in 1933, as part of Roosevelt’s WPA jobs program, and she entered into service in 1938. She was designed for the transition from bi-plane to metal-made monoplane aircraft, and by the end of the war was being made obsolete by new carriers preparing the way for jets. She was eventually assimilated into combined task forces of multiple aircraft carriers capable of launching hundreds of planes against their Japanese targets. A platform for innovation, her aviators helped pioneer nighttime operations for defensive patrols and offensive deployments, and she provided a test bed for application of radar technology to both day- and nighttime aviation. Though the cost in human lives was enormous, “Enterprise was about leadership. Amoebalike, she spawned cell after new cell of leaders at every level, men who absorbed the lessons of their mentors and passed those values to the next generation like naval DNA.” A commendable history of a significant ship that also commemorates the economic might unleashed to supply the fighters in WWII.    


Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4391-9087-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

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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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