A refreshingly nonpolemical work that walks through the benumbing stages of war and response to the present Islamic State...

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COUNTER JIHAD

AMERICA'S MILITARY EXPERIENCE IN AFGHANISTAN, IRAQ, AND SYRIA

A reasonable, step-by-step look back at the war on terror that aims to dispel misconceptions held by a younger generation.

A specialist in the study of terrorism who has worked with the CIA to track suicide bombers in Afghanistan, Williams (Islamic History/Univ. of Massachusetts, Dartmouth; The Last Warlord: The Life and Legend of Dostum, the Afghan Warrior Who Led U.S. Special Forces to Topple the Taliban Regime, 2013, etc.) finds his students’ ignorance about the Afghanistan and Iraq wars troubling. In this meticulous survey, he offers an “after action report” to help readers understand why the U.S. is (still) deeply mired in wars in three Middle East countries. From his previous works—e.g., on Uzbek Afghan warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, who helped the Americans defeat the Taliban in 2001—the author has certainly immersed himself in the complicated ethnic makeup of Afghanistan (Williams provides a useful map of the major ethnic groups). He grasps the deep roots of the resentments in the region, from the ancient Sunni-Shiite split to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict—and America’s pro-Israel position. One of the salient points the author hammers home as he tracks the beginning of the U.S. military presence in the region is that from 1991 to 1998, Saddam Hussein’s atomic bomb capability was essentially dismantled (despite his boasts), rendering George W. Bush’s weapons of mass destruction proclamations absolute “hype.” Moreover, there was no evidence that Osama bin Laden collaborated with Hussein, while only one “farsighted U.S. official,” former national security adviser Richard Clarke, was tracking the al-Qaida threat, especially after the 2000 sinking of the USS Cole. Williams also examines some of the persistent conspiracy theories about 9/11—e.g., that the attack was the work of “the Zionists.”

A refreshingly nonpolemical work that walks through the benumbing stages of war and response to the present Islamic State group problem.

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8122-4867-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Univ. of Pennsylvania

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 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 sleek, vital history that effectively shows how, “from the outset, inequality was enforced with the whip, the gun, and the...

AN AFRICAN AMERICAN AND LATINX HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

A concise, alternate history of the United States “about how people across the hemisphere wove together antislavery, anticolonial, pro-freedom, and pro-working-class movements against tremendous obstacles.”

In the latest in the publisher’s ReVisioning American History series, Ortiz (History/Univ. of Florida; Emancipation Betrayed: The Hidden History of Black Organizing and White Violence in Florida from Reconstruction to the Bloody Election of 1920, 2005, etc.) examines U.S. history through the lens of African-American and Latinx activists. Much of the American history taught in schools is limited to white America, leaving out the impact of non-European immigrants and indigenous peoples. The author corrects that error in a thorough look at the debt of gratitude we owe to the Haitian Revolution, the Mexican War of Independence, and the Cuban War of Independence, all struggles that helped lead to social democracy. Ortiz shows the history of the workers for what it really was: a fatal intertwining of slavery, racial capitalism, and imperialism. He states that the American Revolution began as a war of independence and became a war to preserve slavery. Thus, slavery is the foundation of American prosperity. With the end of slavery, imperialist America exported segregation laws and labor discrimination abroad. As we moved into Cuba, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico, we stole their land for American corporations and used the Army to enforce draconian labor laws. This continued in the South and in California. The rise of agriculture could not have succeeded without cheap labor. Mexican workers were often preferred because, if they demanded rights, they could just be deported. Convict labor worked even better. The author points out the only way success has been gained is by organizing; a great example was the “Day without Immigrants” in 2006. Of course, as Ortiz rightly notes, much more work is necessary, especially since Jim Crow and Juan Crow are resurging as each political gain is met with “legal” countermeasures.

A sleek, vital history that effectively shows how, “from the outset, inequality was enforced with the whip, the gun, and the United States Constitution.”

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8070-1310-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Beacon

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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