An entertaining account of fierce combat and adolescent military horseplay.



An above-average macho war memoir, full of high-tech gadgetry and deadly fireworks.

During a 2006 invasion of the chaotic Afghan province of Helmand by 3,300 British troops, the objective of which was to subdue the resurgent Taliban, Macy piloted a Westland Apache AH Mk1 attack helicopter, a vastly improved British version of the original American design. Complicated and wildly expensive—it costs nearly $30,000 an hour to operate—its advanced electronics enable the pilot to hover out of rifle range and deliver devastating cannon fire and rockets with pinpoint accuracy. Military buffs will appreciate the nuts-and-bolts technical details provided by the author as he relates his unit’s triumphs, frustrations and off-duty hijinks during an exhausting four-month tour that included a dramatic rescue under fire, an event that made headlines in Britain and earned Macy a medal. The author describes many close calls but no casualties among the Apache warriors as they inflicted spectacular damage on Taliban forces. The book ends as it began with the British under siege at a handful of bases, the enemy in control everywhere else and long-suffering Afghan civilians caught in the middle. Like Dan Mills accomplished in his recent battle memoir (Sniper One, 2008), Macy thankfully avoids the urge to heavy-handedly proclaim the righteousness of the cause, his love of freedom, his sympathy with oppressed civilians and his hatred for terrorists.

An entertaining account of fierce combat and adolescent military horseplay.

Pub Date: May 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-8021-1894-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 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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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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