Solid investigative journalism, though of no comfort to anyone contemplating a tour aboard a factory ship.

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58 DEGREES NORTH

THE MYSTERIOUS SINKING OF THE ARCTIC ROSE

An eye-opening tale of a modern maritime disaster and its tortuous aftermath.

Less showy—but less gripping, too—than Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm, Newsday correspondent Kugiya’s account of the sinking of the Arctic Rose makes a sturdy companion. Like that of the Andrea Gail, the 15-man crew of the 100-foot-long Arctic Rose was a mixed lot: the assistant engineer was on the run from the law, the cook a decorated Vietnam vet, the first mate an adept student of the stock market. Most of the hands were young; some had survived drugs to become born-again Christians, others the Mexican desert to enter the US illegally. All were there to make anything but easy money; as Kugiya writes, fishermen in general are “the last hunters, the last cowboys, wage-earners walking the tightrope of waves and storms and freezing temperatures,” 15 times more likely to die on the job than police officers or firefighters, and the Arctic Rose was working the particularly dangerous but fish-rich Bering Sea. In the early morning of April 2, 2001, working an area nearly off the sea charts, the Arctic Rose sank “abruptly and swiftly,” and all aboard drowned. The Coast Guard soon launched an inquiry that would last two years and produce many hypotheses: for a time it was thought that the vessel, “built without blueprints by a Vietnamese fisherman on a rented piece of beachfront in Biloxi, Mississippi,” had come apart in heavy seas, then that a suddenly developing low-pressure front might have sent high waves and winds crashing into the boat from several directions at once. The eventual explanation, it turns out, was not so dramatic, attributed to human error, and the board of inquiry made 31 recommendations meant to improve the safety of commercial fishing vessels. Those recommendations, however, were “just that, mere suggestions,” and soon afterward the events of 9/11 would divert the Coast Guard’s attention to port and coastal security.

Solid investigative journalism, though of no comfort to anyone contemplating a tour aboard a factory ship.

Pub Date: April 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-58234-286-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2005

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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 PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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