Disregard the deceptive title. The prolific Hoyt (199 Days, The Last Kamikaze, etc.) offers an illuminating picture of the wide-ranging, if ultimately ineffectual, roles played by Hermann Wilhelm Goering in Nazi Germany's rise and fall. A WW I fighter pilot whose valor in aerial combat earned him a chestful of medals, the well-connected Goering was an early supporter of Adolf Hitler, providing access to the moneyed circles into which upstart National Socialists could not hope to be admitted on their own. In return, Hitler gave him high-profile posts. In addition to getting the Luftwaffe off the ground, Goering once headed the SA's storm troopers and (until supplanted by Albert Speer in 1942) was the Third Reich's economic tsar as well as its soothing front man during the years prior to WW II. As Hoyt makes clear, however, Goering was a can-do master of organization and tactics, not a visionary strategist. Absent a personal following within the Nazi Party, moreover, the corpulent Reichsmarschal relied almost entirely on the FÅhrer's favor for whatever power he wielded. While Goering's star climbed with Germany's European conquests, it dimmed in the wake of subsequent setbacks on the Eastern front, his air force's failure to win the Battle of Britain, and the Allies' relentless raids on a fatherland stripped of substantive defense against bombers. Reduced to a figurehead as Hitler assumed personal control of the country's battered, sputtering industrial war machine, Goering effectively marked time until he cheated the victors' justice by taking his own life in 1947. A revelatory appraisal of an Axis kingpin whose sociopolitical career has been accorded far less attention than that of the madman he served so loyally. (Photos)

Pub Date: April 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-312-85668-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Forge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1994

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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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