Tightly focused, sure-footed military history.




Military-aircraft expert Tillman (What We Need: Extravagance and Shortages in America’s Military, 2007, etc.) delivers a blow-by-blow history of the Allied air offensive against Japan during World War II.

The author begins with a flourish, chronicling the dramatic April 1942 bombing mission known as the Doolittle Raid. The first time that the Japanese mainland had ever been bombed, the raid did not hit all of its intended targets, but it proved that Japan was vulnerable to attack—a true boon to American morale after Pearl Harbor and a psychological blow to the Japanese. It was the kickoff to years of aerial conflict between the two military powers. Tillman documents that part of World War II from the initial U.S. planning stages before Pearl Harbor to the last missions in the aftermath of the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Along the way, he lavishes attention on the equipment involved, such as the then-new B-29 Superfortress, an enormous and powerful heavy bomber that also provided logistical problems for American strategists. Tillman also ably brings across the personalities of several key military leaders, including Curtis LeMay, who commanded B-29 operations. It will come as no surprise that Tillman has written dozens of books on World War II aviation—he clearly knows his subject—and the sheer amount of detail can at times be a bit daunting, particularly for readers unfamiliar with military histories. But the author is a smooth stylist, and World War II history buffs will find much to enjoy.

Tightly focused, sure-footed military history.

Pub Date: March 2, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4165-8440-7

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 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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