A practical introduction to the Korean War, particularly useful for readers interested in British military contributions to...


A history of the strategies, operations, and tactics of the Korean War, timed to coincide with that conflict’s 50th anniversary.

Fifty years after the outbreak of the war, publishers and television producers are inundating the public with accounts of the conflict. Standing apart from these opportunistic offerings is British historian Catchpole’s (Clash of Cultures, not reviewed) impressively researched new account. A career officer in the British army, Catchpole successfully combines his professional military insight and keen historical awareness to untangle the Korean War’s complex mix of modern warfare and Cold War politics. Many historians successfully describe the dramatic opening of the war by focusing on the initial lack of US combat readiness, General MacArthur’s brilliant amphibious landings at Inchon, the resultant UN offensive that almost drove the North Korean forces out of the country, and China’s entry into the conflict. As the war stabilized into entrenched mountain warfare and the UN commitment in Korea dramatically increased, however, these same historians often got lost in the conflict’s shift from military to political objectives. Catchpole avoids this pitfall in two ways: first, he incorporates new material from the recently opened Russian and Chinese archives into his book; and second, he includes several excellent chapters detailing British and Commonwealth service in the conflict. This new material transforms the traditionally messy narrative about the war’s end into a coherent story of international cooperation and bravery in the face of communist aggression. The result is a balanced and accessible history that sheds new light on a complicated war.

A practical introduction to the Korean War, particularly useful for readers interested in British military contributions to the conflict. (maps and diagrams throughout)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7867-0780-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

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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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