OLD SOLDIERS NEVER DIE

THE LIFE AND LEGEND OF DOUGLAS MACARTHUR

WW II historian Perret (Winged Victory, 1993, etc.) has produced a fully comprehensive biography that does evenhanded justice to a great, if flawed, man and his considerable achievements. Capitalizing on unrestricted access to his subject's papers, the author provides a consistently engrossing account of the general who ``was the quintessential twentieth century incarnation of the tragic hero.'' MacArthur graduated first in his class at West Point in 1903. After earning a chestful of medals for bravery in WW I France, his meteoric career included a four-year stint as superintendent at West Point and service as the Army's chief of staff. He retired in 1937 but was recalled to active duty in mid- 1941. In 1942 MacArthur assumed command of the Allied forces battling Japan in the Southwest Pacific. In 1945, he received Japan's surrender in dramatic ceremonies aboard the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay. MacArthur subsequently served as supreme commander of the forces occupying Japan, a post he used to institute enduring economic and sociopolitical reforms. Given command of United Nations forces at the inception of the Korean war, MacArthur landed American troops at Inchon in a daring amphibious assault that led to a to routing of the invading enemy. By marching north through the partitioned country, however, MacArthur drew Communist China into the conflict. In the wake of bitter disagreements with his superiors about American strategy, the aging general was recalled. Perret makes a fine job of evoking not only the qualities that helped MacArthur become a world-class soldier but also the quixotic arrogance and vanity that eventually brought him to grief. He also offers affecting glimpses of a remote commander's surprisingly warm personal life and occasional walks on the wild side. In brief, then, a balanced, warts-and-all portrait that could renew interest in a justly celebrated but ever elusive warrior. (30 pages photos, not seen; maps)

Pub Date: May 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42882-8

Page Count: 688

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1996

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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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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