A chilling tale vividly told.



The story of the Nazis’ international bank robberies.

After World War I, Germany was subject to huge reparations to the Allied victors. High unemployment, inflation and fierce anger over the nation’s defeat generated political and social strife that fueled Hitler’s rise to power. As former Time editor and reporter Taber (In Search of Bacchus: Wanderings in the Wonderful World of Wine Tourism, 2009, etc.) shows in this crisp, well-documented history, lust for gold was integral to Hitler’s military ambitions. In 1933, the Germans had six army divisions, a skeleton air force and only one heavy naval cruiser; by 1939, after raiding Austria and Czechoslovakia, the Nazis had built up their military might to 51 army divisions, including four tank units with 6,000 tanks; 21 air squadrons and 7,000 planes; four battleships, 22 destroyers and four submarines. The nation had also trained and equipped 1.25 million soldiers. Before the invasion of Austria in March 1938, Germany had about $149 million in gold, most in hidden assets. By the end of the war, the Nazis’ stores totaled almost $600 million. Once Hitler’s rampage began, European nations rushed to safeguard their gold stores by sending bullion abroad, much of it to the United States. By early 1940, the U.S. harbored more than 60 percent of the world’s gold. Taber recounts the tense, often frenetic process of secreting these hordes on trains, trucks and boats, sometimes only yards away from the invading Nazis. Some countries, like Norway, succeeded in saving their gold; most did not. Taber emphasizes that “the German war machine would have ground to a halt long before May 1945” without cooperation from Romania, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and Sweden for materiel, and especially from Swiss bankers, who eagerly sold the Nazis Swiss francs with which to pay for vital war products.

A chilling tale vividly told.

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1605986555

Page Count: 500

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 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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