An insightful examination of a rarely studied aspect of World War II—the collaboration of Islamic political parties and...

ICON OF EVIL

HITLER’S MUFTI AND THE RISE OF RADICAL ISLAM

The authors discern “an unbroken chain of terror” linking the spiritual and political leader of the Palestinians for much of the 20th century to Osama bin Laden.

Haj Amin al-Husseini (1895–1974) was a mentor to many modern Islamic fundamentalist and Arab leaders, assert Dalin (Hoover Institute/Stanford Univ.; The Myth of Hitler’s Pope: Pope Pius XII and His Secret War Against Nazi Germany, 2005, etc.) and Rothmann (Fromm Institute/Univ. of San Francisco). Spotlighting al-Husseini’s ties to Adolf Hitler and efforts to aid the Axis cause during World War II, they view those activities as precursors to radical Islamists’ present-day efforts to destroy Israel and attack the United States. Dalin and Rothmann have done extensive archival research, but their book is not a piece of sophisticated scholarship. They tend to dismiss the arguments of al-Husseini and his followers out of hand and take reflexively pro-Israel positions. At least their discussion of al-Husseini’s work with Hitler is evidence-based, which is more than can be said about later chapters. Trying to draw a direct line from al-Husseini to Muslim leaders of the modern era, the authors offer questionable broad-brush analysis. “For the young Saddam Hussein, the mufti’s vision of radical Islam was inspirational,” they write, “and others like Saddam Hussein came to regard the mufti as both hero and mentor.” They decline to note that Hussein, while strongly anti-Israel and anti-Semitic, ran a secular government sometimes at odds with Islamic fundamentalists. Dalin and Rothmann also engage in more speculation than is usually found in history books. Phrases such as “it is not impossible to imagine” are sprinkled throughout, and they include a chapter about where al-Husseini’s imagination might have taken him if he had envisioned what it would be like if Hitler had won the war.

An insightful examination of a rarely studied aspect of World War II—the collaboration of Islamic political parties and Middle East regimes with the Nazis—quickly evolves into a brief for the neoconservative worldview.

Pub Date: July 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4000-6653-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2008

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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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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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