A remarkable work and an essential document in the vast library devoted to the Shoah.



A moving scholarly detective story that hinges on an iconic photograph from the Holocaust.

Porat (Holocaust Studies/Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem) writes that “it is the responsibility of a historian to narrate photographs with analytic rigor, even while retaining, and indeed deepening, their immediacy and meaning.” He succeeds admirably in his critical evaluation of the photograph, taken during the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto, which depicts an eight-year-old boy, hands raised, his face a study in fear and terror. To his right, a young woman, hands also raised and apparently at the head of a column of prisoners, looks at him with concern, while behind him, a Nazi soldier keeps a rifle at the ready. In an exemplary campaign of research, the author doggedly pursues their stories, as well as those of the man behind the camera and the official who ordered that these images be made. The last was a Nazi SS officer named Josef Stroop, once an aimless World War I veteran, then a Nazi true believer, who kept a careful, ornately bound chronicle of his actions on the Eastern Front. Even Nazi leader Alfred Jodl condemned the excess: “The dirty arrogant SS swine! Imagine writing a 75-page boastful report on a little murder expedition, when a major campaign fought by soldiers against a well-armed enemy takes only a few pages!” The photographer also found his calling in the SS, as did the guard with the rifle, a sad sack who was initially appalled at the work of the death squads but soon shed his scruples. Each of the Nazis was executed in the years following the armistice, and only a few of the Jewish figures survived the war, which they carried with them forever.

A remarkable work and an essential document in the vast library devoted to the Shoah.

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8090-3071-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Hill and Wang/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2010

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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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Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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