This faithful, detailed expansion of a pilot’s journal will make a worthwhile addition to the library of any World War II...

PINKY

THE STORY OF NORTH DAKOTA’S FIRST AERIAL COMBAT ACE ON GUADALCANAL

Hook (Desert Storm Diary, 2013, etc.) sifts through the pieces of a World War II ace pilot’s life and death.

To form this story, Hook collects the wartime diary of Francis “Pinky” Register, a World War II Navy pilot from North Dakota, and contemporaneous articles, letters and reports; Hook also conducted his own extensive research and got considerable help from Register’s surviving brother, Bill. The end result is the story of Register’s life, from his aerial beginnings in Civil Aeronautics Association courses taught by Hook’s father to Register leaving his wife for life at sea just a few months after their wedding and his eventual death in aerial combat on the Aleutian island of Attu. Hook isn’t shy about becoming part of the story, discussing his research process and occasionally inserting brief personal anecdotes, such as his father’s 1939 prediction that scrap metal sent to Japan would soon come back at the United States. Hook’s presence as tour guide gives him a chance to explain the greater context that Register’s diaries don’t always address, orienting readers to the significance of the battles Register fought over Guadalcanal and Attu. Register’s many close calls, including bluffing his way past enemy fighters when his guns ran empty, bring home the fact that skill and bravado weren’t enough to make an ace fighter pilot. Luck was essential, too, and Register had plenty of it. This work is undeniably engaging up until the moment Hook inserts his own political and cultural views: e.g., “I don’t see [pride] in our liberal colleges and universities where teachers who have never been exposed to the real evils that are out there in the world pass on their ignorant philosophies to our youth.” That line of thought may be off-putting to those who don’t share the author’s views, but after a few pages, he returns to his coverage of Register’s story. The material is researched and verified, although some historians may cringe at the repeated use of Wikipedia as an authoritative source.

This faithful, detailed expansion of a pilot’s journal will make a worthwhile addition to the library of any World War II buff.

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1492881704

Page Count: 272

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2014

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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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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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