A scholar's eye-opening appraisal of Germany's air forces from the postWW I era through the early stages of WW II. Wryly noting that the victors in any conflict get to write its history, Corum (Comparative Military Studies/Maxwell Air Force Base's School of Advanced Airpower) offers a persuasive, against- the-grain briefing on the Luftwaffe, long dismissed by mainstream annalists as an essentially tactical force geared to support Wehrmacht ground operations. In fact, he observes, archival sources disclose that the Luftwaffe drew resourcefully upon the lessons of WW I and the Spanish Civil War to create a coherent and practicable doctrine of aerial warfare. Nor, the author shows, were the Luftwaffe's strengths or weaknesses attributable in any great measure to its nominal leader, Hermann Gîring (``a man who actually knew very little about air power''). The greatest contributions to what in 1939 ranked as the world's most combat-effective air force, Corum documents, were made by General Walter Wever, Field Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen, and other of the air staff's unsung theorists. Corum goes on to address the ways in which the Luftwaffe evaluated innovations in aircraft technology, developed the infrastructure required to sustain farflung aerial units, endlessly debated the future role of air power, and generally steered clear of the Third Reich's political ideologues. Covered as well are the Luftwaffe's alleged dismissal of strategic bombing, lack of long- distance escort fighters, and bent for terror raids. While the Luftwaffe had lost the production battle by 1942 and fought outnumbered on all fronts, the author points out that it remained a formidable foe through 1944. As for its defeat in the 1940 Battle of Britain, Corum argues that the Luftwaffe was damaged by poor intelligence. Revisionist military history of a high order. (40 illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: July 30, 1997

ISBN: 0-7006-0836-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Univ. Press of Kansas

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 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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Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.


An engaging, casual history of librarians and libraries and a famous one that burned down.

In her latest, New Yorker staff writer Orlean (Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, 2011, etc.) seeks to “tell about a place I love that doesn’t belong to me but feels like it is mine.” It’s the story of the Los Angeles Public Library, poet Charles Bukowski’s “wondrous place,” and what happened to it on April 29, 1986: It burned down. The fire raged “for more than seven hours and reached temperatures of 2000 degrees…more than one million books were burned or damaged.” Though nobody was killed, 22 people were injured, and it took more than 3 million gallons of water to put it out. One of the firefighters on the scene said, “We thought we were looking at the bowels of hell….It was surreal.” Besides telling the story of the historic library and its destruction, the author recounts the intense arson investigation and provides an in-depth biography of the troubled young man who was arrested for starting it, actor Harry Peak. Orlean reminds us that library fires have been around since the Library of Alexandria; during World War II, “the Nazis alone destroyed an estimated hundred million books.” She continues, “destroying a culture’s books is sentencing it to something worse than death: It is sentencing it to seem as if it never happened.” The author also examines the library’s important role in the city since 1872 and the construction of the historic Goodhue Building in 1926. Orlean visited the current library and talked to many of the librarians, learning about their jobs and responsibilities, how libraries were a “solace in the Depression,” and the ongoing problems librarians face dealing with the homeless. The author speculates about Peak’s guilt but remains “confounded.” Maybe it was just an accident after all.

Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4018-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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