199 DAYS


An illuminating overview of the murderously destructive clash that, arguably, paved the way for Germany's defeat in WW II. Drawing on archival material recently released by the former USSR and other sources, the ever-prolific Hoyt (Hirohito, p. 300, etc.) offers a wide-ranging, albeit tellingly detailed, rundown on a savage turning-point encounter. Hitler (whose initial thrust into the Soviet Union had stalled short of Moscow) appreciated the propaganda value of Stalingrad, an agricultural/industrial showcase strategically located in the bottleneck between the Don and Volga rivers. During the summer of 1942, he split his Eastern Front forces, dispatching some to the Caucasus oil fields; the rest were directed to take Stalingrad. Preceded by a shattering aerial/artillery bombardment, the Wehrmacht pushed the Red Army back inside the city limits. A state of siege was declared, and the invaders paid a ruinously high price for every inch of ground they gained in fierce street-fighting with armed factory workers as well as regular troops. Another cruel Russian winter arrived, and relief expeditions (belatedly approved by Hitler) failed. By year-end, the German 6th Army (whose ammunition and food supplies had long since been exhausted) was surrounded. Despite orders to the contrary, General von Paulus surrendered what was left of his starving, battle-weary command on January 31, 1943. Like many famous victories, Hoyt shows, the Stalingrad campaign was a costly encounter for both sides: The city was reduced to rubble, and as many as three million lives may have been lost. Hoyt provides a vivid reconstruction of the conflict, complete with big-picture perspectives on the secret war councils that precipitated events and anecdotal accounts of the ferocious small-unit actions that, collectively, determined the outcome. Military history of a very high caliber. (Maps, plus 32 pages of fresh photos from the erstwhile USSR—some seen.)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-312-85463-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1992

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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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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.



Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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