Well-written and fast-paced, this will be compelling to specialists and general readers alike.

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BIG WEEK

SIX DAYS THAT CHANGED THE COURSE OF WORLD WAR II

Military and aviation historian Yenne (U.S. Guided Missiles, 2012, etc.) documents the events of the week beginning February 20th, 1944, during which Nazi Germany's aircraft industry and air defenses were destroyed, contributing to the preparation for the D-Day invasion.

The author provides a day-by-day account of what took place as German industrial facilities were targeted for attack. Yenne skillfully situates the action, pulling together various threads. He summarizes briefly the history of strategic bombing from its origins in Italy and Russia during World War I, and he highlights the recruitment and deployment of the intelligence teams that profiled the German economy and war machine to identify bottlenecks and target them to be destroyed. Yenne examines the creation and development of the many aircraft armadas that took to the skies that February from their bases in eastern England. This is an amazing story in which planning and organization—such as the ever-increasing flow of materiel into the U.K.—combined perfectly with ingenuity and luck (the weather in that February week was ideal but almost unprecedented). Yenne then takes up the effectiveness of the America’s daytime bombing campaign as both the number of bombers and the range of their fighter escorts increased. Ultimately, the setbacks of late 1943, when losses of bombers and flight crews to German air defense forces became almost unsustainable, were reversed. Yenne also shows how the bombing campaign finally helped break the back of Hitler's war economy.

Well-written and fast-paced, this will be compelling to specialists and general readers alike.

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2012

ISBN: 978-0425255759

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

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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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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