A well-researched, generally disinterested account whose parallels to today are obvious.




A journalist provides a balanced look at America’s bloody effort to annex the Philippines in the early 20th century.

Former Dallas Morning News correspondent Jones (Red Revolution: Inside the Philippine Guerrilla Movement, 1989) gives both sides to the issues and their adherents—though he begins with a graphic description of American soldiers administering water torture to a Filipino captive (the issue of military misconduct recurs repeatedly). Jones swiftly summarizes the war with Spain that gave birth to the events in the Philippines, paying careful attention to rising star Theodore Roosevelt and his exploits with the Rough Riders. We see President William McKinley as something of a ditherer; he was reluctant to make decisions that he knew would cost lives. Once Spain agreed to surrender their sway in the Philippines, the Americans snatched the chance for expansion. President Roosevelt was no ditherer. The Filipinos, initially grateful, quickly realized that they were not going to retain sovereignty, and an insurgency swelled. Soon thousands of American military personnel flooded the islands, and the action turned brutal, sanguinary and punitive. Torture, executions, destruction of private property and the burning of entire villages—all were done by the U.S. in the cause of victory. Jones describes the incidents, chronicles the reactions back home (Mark Twain and Andrew Carnegie were passionately opposed to U. S. involvement) and charts the flight of the political football as Republicans and Democrats fought to control the public perception of events. One major result was the elevated status of the Marines, whose days had seemed numbered beforehand.

A well-researched, generally disinterested account whose parallels to today are obvious.

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-451-22904-5

Page Count: 400

Publisher: NAL/Berkley

Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

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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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