RED STORM ON THE REICH

THE SOVIET MARCH ON GERMANY, 1945

Standard military historical fare from Duffy (The Military Experience in the Age of Reason, 1988), who here details the final Soviet drive against the Nazis on the road from Poland to Berlin. With overwhelming superiority in armament and troop strength, the Soviet battle plan initially involved two coordinated assaults across the Vistula River in mid-January 1945. The assaults met with less resistance than anticipated—in fact, the German front collapsed, enabling the Soviet armies to begin a race to the Oder and German soil that made it seem as though the war would be quickly won. However, eventually bogged down by increasingly desperate fighting and the possibility of attack from the flanks and rear, Soviet operations turned to consolidating positions and eliminating pockets of resistance while maintaining steady progress westward. Duffy considers each siege and state of the assault separately, providing a full analysis of strategy and paying particular attention to the divisive role Nazi functionaries played in the Wehrmacht's efforts to fight back and regroup. Although battles are described with dramatic highlights, the march becomes fragmented into a series of isolated conflicts in which descriptions of maneuvers during the siege of Kînigsberg or Breslau, or on the Oder, often appear formulaic or repetitive. A lengthy appendix closely analyzes Soviet and German styles of warfare, with the former's mechanized ability and tactical advantage on the offensive proving decisive. Well researched and meticulously presented, but only occasionally engaging: a history of interest primarily to military specialists.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-689-12092-3

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1991

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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 PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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