Essentially a history of the Pacific war from January to June 1942 (Midway does not enter the picture until 100 pages in),...

THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY

A wholly satisfying history of America’s most satisfying naval victory, won in June 1942 with vastly inferior forces.

Symonds (History Emeritus/U.S. Naval Academy; The Civil War at Sea, 2009, etc.) writes that America’s overwhelming industrial superiority doomed Japan, but adds that this was nowhere in evidence following Pearl Harbor, when its immense fleet with 10 aircraft carriers dwarfed the United States’ four. By April, Japan had performed so well that leaders debated what to do next. The winner was charismatic Admiral Yamamoto, whose victory at Pearl Harbor gave him unprecedented authority. He proposed attacking tiny Midway Island, 1,200 miles west of Hawaii, claiming that this would draw American carriers to its defense, and their destruction would force a negotiated peace. Yamamoto’s superiors opposed the plan but caved in. Thanks to American code breakers, U.S. forces knew Japanese intentions—useful information although not as vital as some historians claim. Approaching Midway, each fleet searched for and located the other almost simultaneously. In the subsequent action, both sides experienced the confusion, blunders and blind chance that invariably accompanies battles. Better luck and fewer blunders favored the U.S., which sank four Japanese carriers.

Essentially a history of the Pacific war from January to June 1942 (Midway does not enter the picture until 100 pages in), this is a lucid, intensely researched, mildly revisionist account of a significant moment in American military history.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-19-539793-2

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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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 Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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