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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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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