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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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.


Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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