Intriguing if not wholly convincing reconsideration of the July 1969 car crash that killed Mary Jo Kopechne and effectively ended Senator Edward Kennedy's presidential aspirations. Lange (an attorney) and DeWitt (a copywriter) begin with perfunctory tabloid-like sketches of Kopechne and the Kennedys that telegraph more of an interest in detective work than in the people involved. We're told that Joseph Kennedy, Jr., ``was the one Mother loved best'' and, half a page later, that Kathleen Kennedy ``was Rose's favorite child.'' Things make more sense as the authors trace the events leading up to the accident; examine testimony on what may have happened afterward; and outline various theories about what actually did happen. The details are endless and the reasoning intricate as the authors find every past theory inadequate to explain certain actions and events. And so Lange and DeWitt offer ``One More Theory'': ``that the senator was largely telling the truth.'' In doing so, they tackle the big mysteries of the case: Kennedy's failure to report the crash for many hours, and his bizarre swim to a neighboring island after the accident. The authors point out that his original statements to police and his later courtroom testimony agree substantively, except about that swim, and they indicate that any discrepancies are due to Kennedy having been ``non compos mentis,'' probably in ``traumatic amnesia'' marked by ``befuddlement'': Although there was, they say, ``no proper medical assessment'' of the senator at the time, witnesses described actions consistent with amnesiac behavior. The research here is remorseless, but the simplistic psychology of the early pages undermines confidence. (Eight pages of photographs, two maps)

Pub Date: June 9, 1993

ISBN: 0-312-08749-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1993

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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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