A workmanlike, nuts-and-bolt account of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan.

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BOOTS ON THE GROUND

THE FIGHT TO LIBERATE AFGHANISTAN FROM AL-QAEDA AND THE TALIBAN, 2001-2002

A specific, technical study of the U.S. military’s special operations against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in the weeks after 9/11.

Sticking to the record, retired Marine Corps veteran Camp (Battle for the City of the Dead: In the Shadow of the Golden Dome, Najaf, August 2004, 2011, etc.) does not impart judgment to this extraordinary story of the U.S. expulsion of Taliban forces in the space of several weeks after 9/11. Maps, chronology and photos all relay the historian’s sense of meticulous research without heeding stylistic embellishments. Camp paints the grim background by depicting the brutal Soviet invasion of the country in 1979 and the disastrous 10-year occupation, resulting in many dead, billions spent and little gained. Emerging from the squalid refugee camps and supported by Pakistan intelligence, the mujahideen were proud, fearless guerrilla fighters who formed small, mobile units that roamed the countryside laying ambush. They were highly effective over the rugged terrain against the lumbering Soviet juggernaut, and would be again when enlisted by the U.S. against the Taliban. The attacks on 9/11 underscored what the Americans should have seen coming: The Taliban (still supported by Pakistan), militarized by Osama bin Laden, had issued jihad against America, as evidenced by the suicide bomb on the USS Cole in 2000 and other attacks. Camp delves into the Bush Administration’s war machinations led by Donald Rumsfeld, and though the military detail can occasionally become overwhelming, the big events unfurl methodically, climaxing in U.S.-backed Hamid Karzai’s taking of Kandahar, and the pursuit of al-Qaeda troops to the border of Pakistan. Operation Anaconda officially closed in March 2002, before the U.S. turned its attention to Iraq.

A workmanlike, nuts-and-bolt account of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan.

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7603-4111-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Zenith

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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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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