A sad, chilling work that displays a vigorous buildup and suspense.




The underreported story of 11 young African-American GIs captured and massacred in the winter of 1944 by the Germans in Wereth, Belgium.

In this fast-paced, anecdotal account, George (A Woman's Right to Rest: Fourteen Types of Biblical Rest that Can Transform Your Life, 2012, etc.) and Child (Ghost Carrier, 2016, etc.) narrate a little-known but “graphic and deeply moving” World War II tale. Since the dialogue is “creatively retold,” the book reads more like fiction and thus aims at a wider audience than just historians. The authors provide an admirable follow-up on their protagonists and offer the right amount of detail for general readers. In addition to their main characters, they explore the role of African-Americans in World War II in general. Though they were drafted along with whites, the Jim Crow discrimination they faced will surprise many readers; most of the million who served were relegated to menial, subservient jobs like kitchen work and driving, and they lived in segregated housing. Moreover, they saw that the German POWs were often treated better than they were. The Wereth 11 trained under Capt. William G. McLeod at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma, from late 1942 onward and joined the 333rd Field Artillery Battalion. They operated the 155mm Howitzer, a complicated new weapon that required considerable skill to master. The mostly farm-born men were eventually sent to the U.K. for further training and then stationed in France after D-Day. Entrenched just outside the Siegfried Line (the “West Wall”), the unit was overrun during the surprise attack of the Battle of the Bulge and captured. The authors also tell the story of the kind treatment of the black men by one Catholic German family (in Wereth) before they were found by the Germans.

A sad, chilling work that displays a vigorous buildup and suspense.

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-98739-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dutton Caliber

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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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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