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




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...


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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