An insider’s account that by definition is difficult for outsiders to evaluate because the author and many of his key...

CASTRO'S SECRETS

THE CIA AND CUBA'S INTELLIGENCE MACHINE

An analysis of Fidel Castro focusing on Cuban spy activity, by a retired CIA officer who specialized in tracking the Castro brothers.

Latell (After Fidel: The Inside Story of Castro's Regime and Cuba's Next Leader, 2005) was bound by his employment contract to submit this book to CIA censors, and he claims they asked for only a few minor changes. Many of the fresh allegations about Castro, his crackerjack spy agency and U.S. efforts to undermine him are based on conversations between the author and Florentino Aspillaga Lombard, “the most knowledgeable Cuban defector ever to change sides.” That means the credibility of many of these allegations depend heavily on Aspillaga's credibility, though Latell states that he has no doubt about Aspillaga's memory or the purity of his motives. Perhaps the most dramatic revelation is that Fidel Castro, and presumably his brother, a key member of the Cuban revolutionary autocracy, knew ahead of time that Lee Harvey Oswald would assassinate President Kennedy in Dallas. Latell does not sugarcoat the reasons for the anger of the Castro brothers aimed at Kennedy; rather, the author offers considerable information about how the U.S. government tried continually to overthrow the Castro regime, including plans that could have led to the assassination of one or both Castro brothers. In addition to information about assassination plots, Latell explains how a small island nation built an impressive spy agency. Though the author does not find the CIA wanting, he acknowledges that sometimes the information gathered turned out to be outdated or incorrect.

An insider’s account that by definition is difficult for outsiders to evaluate because the author and many of his key sources are trained dissemblers.

Pub Date: April 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-230-62123-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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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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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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