One of Washington's key sources of information on Hitler's designs during WW II was Japan's ambassador to Germany, General Hiroshi Oshima. Shortly before the emperor's emissary began his second Berlin posting (early in 1941), the US military had broken the sophisticated Japanese diplomatic code, enabling it to supply FDR and senior aides deciphered translations of Oshima's frequent communications with superiors in Tokyo. Drawing on access to recently declassified archival files, Boyd (History/Old Dominion University) offers an analytic appreciation of this high-grade intelligence (known as ``Magic'') and of how the Allies employed it in their ETO campaigns. An ardent nationalist, Oshima had personal rapport with Hitler and other top Nazis. As one result, intercepts of his message traffic provided detailed data on Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union, albeit not of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. Unwittingly, Oshima also reassured Anglo-American strategists that cooperation among Axis powers was minimal. In addition, following an inspection tour of the Wehrmacht's coastal defenses in France, Oshima sent a full report to his foreign minister, which proved of great assistance to D-day planners. He even furnished advance warning of the Battle of the Bulge, which, Boyd concludes, Allied cryptanalysts failed to evaluate accurately. On the eve of destruction, Oshima afforded his monitors authoritative estimates of Germany's intentions, as well as eyewitness accounts of siege conditions inside the Third Reich. Throughout the conflict, moreover, he kept Tokyo apprised on the slim chances of Germany's negotiating a separate peace with the USSR, a cause for continuing concern in the UK/US camp. An illuminative briefing on a little-known but invaluable source of intelligence during WW II. (Maps, photos, and tabular material—some seen.)

Pub Date: March 30, 1993

ISBN: 0-7006-0569-X

Page Count: 294

Publisher: Univ. Press of Kansas

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1993

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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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