A convincing reassessment of Lyndon Johnson's foreign policy. Although Brands (History/Texas A&M; The Devil We Knew, 1993, etc.) admits that it is difficult to consider LBJ's record in foreign affairs without immediately thinking of the debacle in Vietnam that wrecked his presidency, that is nonetheless what he attempts to do. Coming to the Oval Office at the height of the American Century, Johnson inherited a tradition of American globalism that began with the Spanish-American War, gained momentum in WW I, and peaked after WW II, from which the United States emerged as the greatest economic and military force in the world, able to project its power around the planet. The author argues that Johnson continued in this vein and that many of his accomplishments deserve to be understood and applauded. Obsessed with Communism and the nagging question of ``Who lost Cuba,'' Johnson intervened in Vietnam and successfully invaded the Dominican Republic, ostensibly to protect American lives but in reality to prevent a supposed Communist takeover. When the Six-Day War broke out in the Middle East, Johnson could not, as Eisenhower did in the Suez crisis of 1956, force Israel to give up territory gained. He did, however, use America's coercive influence to limit the scope and duration of the war. He suffered the snub of de Gaulle ordering US troops out of France and withdrawing from NATO, but soldiers remained in Europe and he kept the alliance together. He helped halt wars between Greece and Turkey and between India and Pakistan. In many ways, Brands offers Johnson as a transitional figure between the days of American hegemony and the current era when a multipolar world often seems to confound and stymie US foreign policy. Judicious and well researched, the volume presents a good opening in the reappraisal of Johnson and his administration.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-19-507888-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1994

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


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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