Recondite but dramatically rendered and obsessively researched.




An immensely detailed examination of the obscure expansion of American aviation into China during Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist era.

Crouch (Enduring Patagonia, 2002, etc.), a West Point graduate and former Army Ranger, depicts this story of William Langhorne Bond and his intrepid shepherding of the American-backed China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC). Initially sent to China to help bolster the money-losing aviation enterprise of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation in 1931, Bond recognized that the key to success within employee relations was to treat the Chinese as partners. Modernizing the country was the aim of Chiang (and the U.S. allies), and when Pan Am wrestled in, buying up Curtiss-Wright’s share in CNAC and expanding routes across the Pacific, Bond was the professional enlisted in the effort. Loyal to both the Chinese and Americans, he managed to convince Pan Am chief Juan Trippe to continue its routes within China despite the crippling invasion of the Japanese in 1937. Circumventing the State Department’s neutrality laws, Bond agreed to resign officially from Pam Am and work solely for CNAC, which he helped get back in operation during the war, using Hong Kong as its base. The airline was instrumental in evacuating the Nationalist provisional capital Hankow in 1938, Hong Kong in 1941 and in the execution of the crucial airdrops over “the Hump” from Dinjan to Calcutta, thus aiding the U.S. Army in supplying the Chinese troops. The Hump provided the successful prototype for the later Berlin Airlift. What Crouch calls “the most successful Sino-American partnership of all time” was dissolved in December 1949, with China “gone red” and the U.S. government fearful of continuing.

Recondite but dramatically rendered and obsessively researched.

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-553-80427-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Bantam

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 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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