An admirably researched history of the long, successful career of America's first admiral and a popular hero of the Civil War, who is best remembered for his famous order in the heat of the battle at Mobile Bay, ``Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead!'' To complement (and correct) the mainly army perspective found in most Civil War histories, Duffy (Target Hitler, not reviewed, etc.) presents a record of the frequently overlooked naval aspects of that conflict, as reflected in the career of David Farragut. Born in the South, Farragut went to sea as a midshipman when he was nine. While Duffy offers a summary of Farragut's life before the war, he is primarily interested in Farragut's Civil War years. He explains in some detail the often highly unorthodox strategies Farragut used to shut down Southern ports. And he explores Farragut's unwavering determination to overcome any obstacle in his way, including suspicions about his loyalty expressed by some fellow officers, aroused by the presence of a Southerner in the Federal navy; jealousies stirred by his early successes, which delayed promotion; and the opposition of bureaucrats in Washington, who attempted to reverse some of his naval strategies. Farragut, who held an unshakable belief in the necessity of preserving the Union (and who, having largely grown up at sea, had little sympathy for the South), always persevered. His brilliant campaigns on the Mississippi and his capture of New Orleans electrified the North. His blockade actions captured over 1,500 vessels. And his great victory at Mobile Bay against determined resistance, and under daunting circumstances, closed another Southern lifeline and diverted Confederate forces away from the defense of Atlanta. Duffy argues that Farragut's actions had more to do with the downfall of the Confederacy than some of the more celebrated land battles. A highly readable chronicle of a remarkable man, and an exciting account of decisive incidents in naval history. (25 photos, 6 maps, not seen)

Pub Date: March 14, 1997

ISBN: 0-471-04208-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Wiley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1997

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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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