A knowledgeable survey of a specific point in the eastern front and its ramifications for the Baltic region.

THE FALL OF HITLER'S FORTRESS CITY

THE BATTLE OF KONIGSBERG, 1945

A focused history of an intensely held Prussian city on the eastern front during World War II.

While there are numerous surveys of Hitler’s advance into Russia and the hugely sacrificial Russian push back, there is less known about the devastating effect of the war on the German province of East Prussia. In this solid historical account, English journalist and educator Denny focuses on the capital city of Königsberg. Crowned in the 13th century by the imposing castle built by the Teutonic Knights, the city eventually became the seat of the Brandenburg region, and William I was anointed “King of Prussia in the Castle church in 1861.” A land of lakes and small, self-sustaining farms, East Prussia weathered the adversity of seasons and history, most notably being cut off from the rest of Germany by the creation of the Polish Corridor (including Danzig) after the German defeat in World War I, effectively isolating 1.5 million Germans and some 5,000 Jews. The Nazi Party’s promises to restore West Prussia and Danzig to Germany, get rid of the Polish Corridor, and fight communism resonated with large landowners and radical small-scale farmers of the province, and thus Hitler was overwhelmingly elected. The symbolic power of Königsberg was demonstrated when Hitler came in triumph to speak on the eve of the Reichstag election in 1933 and again after the annexation of Austria in 1938. Denny examines how the Jews were gradually routed out, while the German population remained relatively well cared for during the war, with the arrival of Poles as slave labor. By 1942, Königsberg was used as an assembly point for armed services heading to the eastern front. As German might waned and the Russian invasion was imminent, a huge evacuation of civilians took place from April to May 1945. The city’s surrender to the Soviet Army and the Allied bombing campaigns essentially destroyed the city.

A knowledgeable survey of a specific point in the eastern front and its ramifications for the Baltic region.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5107-1240-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more