GLEN EDWARDS

THE DIARY OF A BOMBER PILOT

The fascinating diary of the WWII bomber and postwar test pilot (after whom Edwards Air Force Base was named) placed into context by Ford, a contributing editor at Air & Space/Smithsonian magazine. Although many WWII memoirs have appeared in recent years, Edwards’s rises above the rest with his honest and captivating accounts of daily life for a combat pilot in Africa. Also excellent is Ford’s commentary: He gives non-flying readers all the necessary technical information without attempting a course in aeronautical engineering. Edwards’s training and combat career are interesting, but less colorful than his indoctrination into the first ranks of the army’s test pilots (this in the days before the Air Force was formed). His accounts of jumping into any plane he could get near, and of hopping through the country in search of beautiful women’sometimes, even, Hollywood starlets—offer a unique perspective on the world just after the war, when multitudes of young men returned from overseas and the military pilot was just as much a symbol of glamour as the movie idol. Edwards himself was assigned soon enough to head the test program on the radical and ill-fated Northrop Flying Wing Bomber (he would be killed during testing).While at work on that, he contributed important findings to aircraft research and helped to change the position of test pilot from one offered to any skilled pilot to that of a highly trained scientist. Edwards’s own words are skillfully interwoven with Ford’s, offering a richly detailed account of postwar aviation—and the infant years of the military-industrial complex. (photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 1998

ISBN: 1-56098-571-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1998

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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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