A masterful account of the last great engagement of the Vietnam War in which American forces participated. Drawing on a wealth of sources, military historian AndradÇ (Ashes to Ashes: The Phoenix Program and the Vietnam War, not reviewed) offers a tellingly detailed rundown of the 1972 Easter Offensive, which pitted more than 14 divisions of North Vietnamese Army (NVA) regulars against the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and its dwindling corps of American advisors on widely separated battlefields near the so-called Demilitarized Zone, in the Central Highlands, and a few kilometers northwest of Saigon. Before getting down to business on the NVA's three-front bid for a decisive military triumph, AndradÇ provides big-picture perspectives on the tactical and strategic objectives of all the combatants, in particular the US, which was close to ending its in- country presence. Having set the stage, the author delivers savvy briefings on the campaign's major actions and sideshows, from the fall of Quang Tri (a provincial capital just south of the DMZ that was eventually recaptured) through the fierce defensive efforts that saved An Lock, Hue, Kontum, and other vital outposts from being taken by communist troops. In addition to high-caliber combat reportage, he supplies astute commentary on anti-tank weaponry, ARVN's unwieldy chain of command, close-air support, Hanoi's preoccupation with seizing territory, the Paris peace talks, and much more. Covered as well are the contributions made by legendary US Army officer (later Foreign Service official) John Paul Vann and a host of lower-profile Americans to what proved to be an interim victory for their South Vietnamese comrades in arms. Offering the first comprehensive coverage of an important chapter in the long, sorry tale of US involvement in Vietnam, AndradÇ does his subject proud and sets a high standard for any who follow. (Maps, not seen)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 1995

ISBN: 0-7818-0286-5

Page Count: 600

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 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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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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