Fluid, sharp writing, deep research, and a spy network with unparalleled ingenuity provide a snappy read and lots of...

AGENTS OF INFLUENCE

A BRITISH CAMPAIGN, A CANADIAN SPY, AND THE SECRET PLOT TO BRING AMERICA INTO WORLD WAR II

Hemming (Agent M: The Lives and Spies of MI5’s Maxwell Knight, 2017, etc.) tells the story of MI6 operative Bill Stephenson (the model for 007) and how crucial he was to America’s entry into World War II.

Stephenson was sent to New York in June 1940, to convince U.S. officials to support England in her desperate fight against the Germans. Later that summer, President Franklin Roosevelt sent Bill Donovan on an unofficial visit to London to discern if England could survive. Stephenson knew of the visit and had MI6 take charge, wooing Donovan with royal visits and access to high-security operations. When Donovan returned to America, Stephenson convinced him the U.S. needed a stronger spy service. Donovan’s job was to get Roosevelt onboard. He was already leaning in that direction, ready to help in any way he could—everything that is, short of declaring war. Helping these interventionists was an East Coast group with strong influence called the Century Group. American isolationists, led by Charles Lindbergh, were their fiercest opponents. Lindbergh, who addressed huge crowds at anti-war rallies and justified Nazi aggression due to economic imbalance, received information from Hans Thomsen, the senior diplomat at the German Embassy in charge of keeping the U.S. out of the war. Thomsen developed the congressional “franking privilege” scheme whereby pro-German material could be mailed to sympathizers by sitting members of Congress for free. He also bribed newspapers to publish his false material. Stephenson and Donovan built the most diverse and extensive yet subtle propaganda drive ever directed by one sovereign state at another. In this page-turning spy thriller, Hemming shows how they mastered the art of starting rumors, infiltrating groups, and manipulating opinion polls. They also used forgeries, organized protests, and wiretaps and hacked into private communications. Their only rule: No rules.

Fluid, sharp writing, deep research, and a spy network with unparalleled ingenuity provide a snappy read and lots of shockers.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5417-4214-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 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...

NIGHT

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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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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