An engrossing blow-by-blow account of the nuts and bolts of modern warfare.




An unusually courageous war correspondent shares his dispatches from the frontlines of Afghanistan.

Filmmaker and journalist Anderson spent five years embedded with the British and American forces in Afghanistan, primarily in Helmand, “the country’s most violent province.” Armed only with a video camera, he accompanied his hosts on hundreds of excursions to forward positions, staying “as little time as possible on the main bases, where not much ever happens.” Anderson’s thousands of hours of recorded video allow him to clear away the fog of war, recounting precisely what happened in some of the most chaotic and stressful situations humans can experience. With humor, compassion and a fine eye for detail, the author meticulously pieces together each scene with the skill of a good choreographer. While the book is too atmospheric and action-based to have much of a grand political narrative, Anderson’s central contention is that our strategy in Afghanistan is confused and ineffectual, and the Taliban is confidently reestablishing its networks of authority throughout the country. The Afghan National Army ("a heavily-armed, badly-dressed version of the Keystone Kops. On drugs"), now taking responsibility for most areas, is poorly trained and motivated and of dubious loyalty. The efforts of Anderson’s unit to win hearts and minds were constantly stymied by civilian deaths, communication problems and the great remove from which policymakers view the landscape.

An engrossing blow-by-blow account of the nuts and bolts of modern warfare.

Pub Date: April 19, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-85168-852-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Oneworld Publications

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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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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