For military buffs, surely, but also for general readers looking for an introduction to the Navy’s senior hero of WWII.

ADMIRAL NIMITZ

THE COMMANDER OF THE PACIFIC OCEAN THEATER

A military historian’s look at the five-star admiral “who commanded the 2 million men and 1000 ships that won the war in the Pacific.”

When Chester W. Nimitz (1885–1966) entered the Naval Academy, the Spanish-American War had only recently concluded. By the end of his distinguished career, the U.S. Navy featured supercarriers and nuclear submarines, innovations he’d vigorously championed. Retired Navy captain Harris (War News: Blue & Gray in Black & White: Newspapers in the Civil War, 2010, etc.) revisits every stage of Nimitz’s era-straddling career, from his Texas boyhood and Annapolis years through his various postings and commands, to his crowning 1945 appointment as Chief of Naval Operations, where his postwar pushback against the move to unify the armed services probably preserved naval aviation and the Marine Corps. The bulk of this short narrative, however, focuses on Nimitz’s command of land, sea and air forces in the Pacific during World War II. FDR ordered Nimitz to Pearl Harbor only days after it was attacked. He took over a shattered force and eventually orchestrated a string of naval battles and island conquests that culminated in the Japanese surrender, with Nimitz signing for the United States. Although it was Nimitz who memorably said of the Marines on Iwo Jima, “Uncommon valor was a common virtue,” he was neither especially eloquent nor charismatic. Rather, he was a steady leader whose outward calm and ready supply of jokes masked the partial deafness and nervous tension that plagued him, and he was a superb handler of me. Intolerant of poor performance or discourtesy and horrified by any internecine squabbling, Nimitz rarely permitted his feelings to show. Still, he once explained the framed photo of Gen. MacArthur he kept on his desk as a reminder “not to be a horse’s ass and make Jovian pronouncements complete with thunderbolts.”

For military buffs, surely, but also for general readers looking for an introduction to the Navy’s senior hero of WWII.

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-230-10765-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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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