A must-read for military buffs and a should-read for anyone who has given even a cursory thought to the U.S. efforts in...

ALL THE WAYS WE KILL AND DIE

AN ELEGY FOR A FALLEN COMRADE, AND THE HUNT FOR HIS KILLER

The search for the story behind an IED death leads to the history of the post–9/11 wars and the lives of the men and women who fight them.

Coming to terms with the details surrounding the death of a fallen comrade is often both personal and businesslike. In Castner’s (The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life that Follows, 2012) latest book, it is almost entirely personal. No longer on the job as part of an Air Force explosive ordnance disposal team, the author investigates his friend Matt’s wartime death to answer some of his questions and the demons that lived alongside them. Castner already had intimate knowledge of what Matt was doing every day in Afghanistan as part of the EOD team, and he used that foundation to find the personal stories of others who survived IED blasts, men and women who were crucial in the search for “the Engineer” of the bomb and the way war has changed for the current generation of soldiers. Castner’s personal drive shines through the investigation, providing an intimacy that draws readers in. Not just along for the ride, readers will be equally invested with the author in finding the elusive man behind the IED technology. Castner does a beautiful job of putting together his puzzle, weaving all the seemingly disparate elements into one cohesive whole. Covering all aspects of his experiences, the author makes learning about a week in the life of a drone pilot as integral to the story as understanding how insurgents target specific military vehicles. Castner’s writing is evocative and engaging, completely absorbing from beginning to end.

A must-read for military buffs and a should-read for anyone who has given even a cursory thought to the U.S. efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62872-654-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Arcade

Review Posted Online: Dec. 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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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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