A thoroughly researched book that will appeal mostly to a scholarly rather than general audience.



A comprehensive but unfortunately arid biography of John Jacob Raskob (1879–1950), whom Farber (History/Temple Univ.; The Rise and Fall of Modern American Conservatism: A Short History, 2010, etc.) depicts as a progenitor of modern capitalism.

Solidly Catholic and small-town conservative, Raskob was as close to a Horatio Alger character as the Jazz Age might allow. He came to head first the DuPont chemical concern and then, in an early exercise in cross-fertilization (or at least cross-corporatization), General Motors. As Farber writes, he was a pioneer of the hostile takeover, the credit market and the application of big money to the political process. Moreover, he was a kind of Napoleon Hill/Dale Carnegie popularizer of business and money who urged ordinary Americans to invest in the stock market and thereby grow rich—advice that, fortunately, most Americans ignored, given that the crash and the Great Depression were just around the corner. That loss of credibility and the decline of the supermoneyed class in the age of the New Deal—and here Farber’s discussion makes the book timely—sent Raskob’s reputation into eclipse in his own time (though Sonora, Texas, is nowhere as bad as Farber makes it out to be). He has since been largely forgotten. Granted that Raskob did not have the worldly appetites or scandal-attracting abilities of fellow Catholic conservative Joseph Kennedy, this life seems a touch dutiful, carrying its subject’s stolid, businesslike manner into its pages. Still, no other book covers the same ground—a curious lacuna, given Raskob’s undeniable importance in economic history.

A thoroughly researched book that will appeal mostly to a scholarly rather than general audience.

Pub Date: May 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-19-973457-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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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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