A little-known slice of Cold War history, as experienced by an insider and vividly retold by an old pro.



Nonfiction thriller about the Soviet naval mutiny that inspired The Hunt for Red October.

Veteran novelist Hagberg (Allah’s Scorpion, 2007, etc.) teams with Gindin, one of the officers aboard the ship, who is now a U.S. citizen. FFG Storozhevoy was an antisubmarine frigate, a long, narrow, fast ship designed to hunt and destroy U.S. nuclear subs. In November 1975, the ship was in harbor at Riga, Latvia, being made ready for two weeks of repairs after a six-month cruise. Senior Lieutenant Gindin, at 24 a proud member of the Soviet navy, was in charge of the engine room. Hagberg conveys the barriers Gindin had to overcome as a Jew in the Soviet system while laying groundwork for the plot by Captain Valery Sablin, the ship’s third in command. The abundant details about running the ship and daily life in the Soviet navy are sure to please military buffs and techno-thriller fans alike. But at the narrative’s center stands the enigmatic Sablin, a true believer in the ideals of Marxism/Leninism who was appalled by the corruption of the Brezhnev-era Soviet Union. Believing that a majority of his fellow Russians shared his vision of a free Rodina (motherland), he planned to sail the ship near Leningrad and broadcast a tape pleading for the bureaucrats’ overthrow. At first, his scheme succeeded. He tricked Captain Anatoly Potulniy, the ship’s commander, into a locked room and armed enough crewmen to imprison those officers who did not support him. Then Sablin’s luck began to run out. His tape, rather than being broadcast, was sent out on an encrypted military channel. One officer escaped to spread the alarm. Whatever chance the mutiny had of succeeding was gone as soon as the Kremlin learned of it. Hagberg manages to build and maintain the suspense even though readers know that the plot’s failure is preordained.

A little-known slice of Cold War history, as experienced by an insider and vividly retold by an old pro.

Pub Date: May 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-7653-1350-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Forge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 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...


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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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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