A finely detailed story of American presidents and their relationship to the world of espionage and intelligence. In this sweeping history of the American intelligence community, Andrew demonstrates how the idiosyncracies and experiences of individual leaders—from the exploits of George Washington as spy and spymaster during the Seven Years and Revolutionary wars to George Bush's serving as CIA director—shaped the nature and use of the intelligence services. For instance, the great respect Eisenhower gained for aerial intelligence before and during the D-Day invasions translated during his presidency into the creation of the world's best overhead reconnaissance service. On a stranger note, FDR was so taken with the idea that the Japanese were frightened by bats that he ordered his intelligence services to research the possibility of a surprise bat attack on Japan. Andrew (History/Cambridge Univ.; Her Majesty's Secret Service, 1986, etc.) shows that Americans were latecomers to the intelligence game; only in the first decade of the Cold War did the US become an intelligence superpower. Andrew clearly knows his way around the dark corridors of the history of espionage. He details the actions of the intelligence agencies in the most significant events of the 20th century, including the attack on Pearl Harbor, the planning for the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, and American preparations for the Gulf War. Andrew chides American presidents— by the late 20th century, the most informed leaders in the history of the world, he says—for taking their intelligence services for granted or expecting too much from them. He also warns those Americans who, given the fall of the Soviet Union, would cut the funding of the CIA, that in the postCold War period intelligence will be more important than ever. Andrew has a sharp sense of the importance and impact of intelligence and a flair for creating a colorful historical tapestry. (37 b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-06-017037-9

Page Count: 672

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1994

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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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