A glut of information impedes a view of the forest for the many trees.



A revision and amplification of the position of German defensive battlements on the Normandy beaches widens and deepens the questions surrounding the Overlord operation.

Sterne, who lives part of the year in the Normandy area, collects war antiques and is co-founder of Skirmish and Armourer magazines, sets out discoveries of a vast, previously unknown underground German battery and bunker system beneath Maisy, Normandy, assaulted by the Rangers in their push inland on June 6, 1944. As the author argues, the Rangers broke out from the beaches and were headed for the Pointe du Hoc big guns, only to discover that the guns had been moved and were not there—a failure perhaps of U.S. intelligence. The Maisy battery was two miles from the coast yet had an ideal vista to the sea. Indeed, it was a fully operational underground trench system, containing lethal howitzers, as well as barracks and a telephone shelter that had all been built by increments over the years of German occupation. Sterne has done extensive research into the German operations at Maisy, as well as what Allied intelligence knew or did not know about it. The actual battle to take the mazelike battery was arduous and took a heavy toll on the Rangers. Sterne aims to correct misconceptions around “D-Day myths”—e.g., that the Pointe du Hoc guns were operational rather than dummy positions to detract from the real emplacements at Maisy, as engineered by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. Sterne believes that the 5th Rangers have not been properly recognized along with the 2nd in taking the battery, and he presents his evidence in numerous, abrupt switches among the points of view of the soldiers involved. Pictures and maps also vie for the reader’s attention.

A glut of information impedes a view of the forest for the many trees.

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62914-327-9

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 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...


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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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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