A strongly written book that sheds new light on a still-developing story.

EXIT THE COLONEL

THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF THE LIBYAN REVOLUTION

A firsthand account of the fall of Gaddafi and the processes that caused it.

Chorin (Translating Libya: The Modern Libyan Short Story, 2008), co-founder of a trauma center in Benghazi and one of the first U.S. diplomats to return to Libya after the lifting of international sanctions in 2004, considers the 2011 intervention “one of the largest ironies of the Libyan revolution,” examining how, in the seven years after sanctions were lifted, arms sales and commercial deals were permitted to proceed. The author makes a strong case that the U.S. and U.K., in particular, “were so obsessed with completing other narratives on terrorism and counter-proliferation…that they never stated what Gaddafi was expected to do…to remain in their good graces.” Consequently, he was allowed to conclude significant oil and gas deals, which generated funds for the purchase of weapons and systems that strengthened his internal police state. Chorin details the divisions within the Bush administration on how to proceed, while highlighting those who believed “Gaddafi's conversion was about as likely as sticky three-fingered aliens landing on the White House lawn.” The author situates his narrative within a discussion of Libya's history, providing background on the discovery of oil and the origins of the industry and tracing the roots of the regime to the scars left by the Italian occupation under Mussolini. He discusses the existing internal and external oppositions and shows how Gaddafi used his rehabilitation to both co-opt and eliminate opponents. While Libya's revolt appears to have erupted suddenly, Chorin ably demonstrates how failed policies of the past contributed to its inevitability.

A strongly written book that sheds new light on a still-developing story.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61039-171-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

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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