These inspirational tales cover as many Marine experiences as Brady can pack in.



Official blather, cruel truths and occasional eloquence by Marine veterans of all wars, as told to Brady (The Scariest Place in the World: A Marine Returns to North Korea, 2005, etc.).

The author polls his own buddies from the Korean War, as well as gathering numerous voices solicited from an article he wrote in Leatherneck magazine, to answer the straightforward question: Why do Marines fight? Discipline—first gained at boot camp—is a common answer, as is the sense of a team and the pressure to enlist, especially if the father was also a military man. Brady includes the story of the privileged soldier, exemplified by Yale student John Chafee, who enlisted in 1942 and later served in Korea, becoming the author’s commanding officer and later a senator. He also looks at the humble soldier, like Jim “Wild Hoss” Callan, a country boy from New Mexico who hoped his military pay could help save the family’s beef ranch before he was killed in Korea. There’s a canned tale from Sen. John Warner of Virginia, as well as the moving account of Gonzalo Garza, a Texas soldier with Mexican immigrant parents. Gen. Peter Pace became the first Marine to be named chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly grew up amid gang violence in the city, joined the Marines like his three older brothers and then became a cop. Fortunately, Brady doesn’t completely whitewash the language of these hard-nosed vets—take George Howe’s account of fighting in North China in 1936 and watching “Marines pulling gold teeth out of the Jap mouths with pliers.” Combat engineer Cpt. Lauren Edwards, formerly stationed in Iraq, provides the lone female voice.

These inspirational tales cover as many Marine experiences as Brady can pack in.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-312-37280-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

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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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