A riveting real-life detective story about one of the century's greatest controversies: the responsibility for America's shocking lack of preparedness at Pearl Harbor. Major (later Colonel) Clausen was appointed independent investigator into Pearl Harbor Henry Stimson in 1944, after it had been determined that the Army Pearl Harbor Board's reports had been based on tainted or perjured testimony. During his inquiry, Clausen traveled more than 55,000 miles and interviewed nearly one hundred Army, Navy, and civilian personnel, 30 of whom offered their accounts to no other investigators. His ace in the hole was a bomb- pouch, programmed to self-destruct if opened without authorization, that contained 40 top-secret cryptographic documents that Clausen used to lure the perjured witnesses into admitting their knowledge of ``Magic,'' the US process for intercepting and decoding Japan's diplomatic codes. Clausen's findings were classified top secret and censored to preserve national security and interservice harmony. Now, with coauthor Lee, who edited Gordon Prange's At Dawn We Slept (1981), Clausen convincingly debunks Pearl Harbor conspiracy theories that have spread like kudzu in works such as John Toland's Infamy (1982), and rebuts other accounts he regards as self- serving, (e.g., Edwin Layton's ``And I Was There''). Some of the best moments here come in cat-and-mouse legal confrontations, including one in which Clausen tripped up a colonel who almost doomed the career of General George Marshall. The Pearl Harbor debacle, Clausen concludes, resulted from several factors, including Admiral Husband Kimmel's hoarding of vital intelligence data from his Army counterpart, General Walter Short, and Short's failure to take necessary reconnaissance measures or use radar air- warning, preparing instead for an attack by sea. An essential document from one of the last players in a great military and legal drama. (Three eight-page b&w photo inserts—not seen.)

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 1992

ISBN: 0-517-58644-4

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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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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