Readers will agree with the author that the Coast Guard is the only American military service that needs more money and...



The history of an admirable, undeservedly neglected service agency.

Every day, the Coast Guard’s men, ships and aircraft respond to 123 distress calls and rescue an average of 14 people; this translates into more than 1.1 million lives saved during its 200-year history. Sadly, notes environmental journalist Helvarg (50 Ways to Save the Ocean, 2006, etc.), far more attention is paid to seagoing organizations that kill people—Navy, Marines, etc. The Guard has suffered thousands of deaths in the line of duty while killing almost no one, except during wartime when it comes under Navy command. The author makes a convincing case that this is not for lack of drama and heroism. Fittingly, the book begins in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. While the Bush administration was caught napping, Coast Guard leaders had no doubt that a disaster was in the works. Assembling men and equipment, they waited for the storm to pass and then sprang into action, rescuing thousands. Helvarg follows the Guard’s history from a few lighthouse keepers in the 1790s to today’s high-tech service, whose ships and aircraft routinely pluck men from raging seas and sinking vessels and intercept drug and illegal-immigrant smugglers. Lacking the enthusiastic private-industry lobbyists who promote massive appropriations for the other services, the Guard makes do with ships far older than the Navy’s and never-quite-cutting-edge equipment. Antiterrorism duties added since 2001 have forced diversion of units from rescue, safety, antipollution and anticrime patrols, while world shipping and its inevitable problems continue to increase.

Readers will agree with the author that the Coast Guard is the only American military service that needs more money and publicity.

Pub Date: May 12, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-312-36372-7

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2009

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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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