An important, admonitory argument and appeal that will reward determined readers with open minds.




A forceful argument that we must wean ourselves off of oil and thereby save the environment and myriads of lives and deprive terrorist organizations of their greatest source of income.

Ballard, a former lieutenant colonel in the Marines and mayor of Indianapolis from 2008 to 2016, participated in the first Gulf War and saw firsthand the consequences of our deadly reliance on Middle Eastern oil. As he writes, we are spending billions of dollars annually to protect the oil infrastructure and flow—not counting the war expenses—and a large portion of the money goes to fund organizations and governments that wish us ill. The author devotes much of this brief volume to background information about how and why we have arrived at this state, and numerous pages of appendices add further information. He summarizes, for example, some critical events involving the Middle East, from the 1979 Iran hostage crisis to recent terrorist attacks in Western Europe. He briefly rehearses the history of the Middle East, from World War I to the present, and the geological and economic history of oil and its production, and he surveys the automotive alternatives to internal combustion engines. Regarding the latter, Ballard offers high praise for Elon Musk and his Tesla development. (He does not mention recent odd Musk-ian events.) The author then proposes ideas to accelerate our movement away from the internal combustion engine—e.g., more charging stations for electric cars. One mild oversight is that Ballard does not devote quite enough attention to the source of all the electricity required to realize his dream. Much more about this issue is needed to make his thesis more palatable to drivers of both massive SUVs and Teslas. The author supplements his sometimes-dense text with numerous photographs, graphs, and charts.

An important, admonitory argument and appeal that will reward determined readers with open minds.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-253-03744-2

Page Count: 168

Publisher: Indiana Univ.

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2019

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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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