A convincing, devastating deconstruction of Richard Nixon’s and Henry Kissinger’s Vietnam War policies that attempts to explode the “peace-with-honor” myth. Nixon spent a great deal of time after his resignation as president making a case for his foreign policy achievements. So, too, has former national security adviser Henry Kissinger. In many books, articles, and speeches, they have argued that they performed heroically in the Vietnam War. They claim they spent four years battling the duplicitous North Vietnamese, our intransigent South Vietnamese allies, a weak-willed, liberal Congress, a biased press, and a self-serving—if not communist-inspired—domestic antiwar movement to forge a peace with honor in January 1973. That peace, Nixon and Kissinger contend, was subverted by North Vietnamese treachery and Congress’s failure to support South Vietnam after the American troop pullout. Kimball (History/Univ. of Miami) delves deeply into Nixon’s and Kissinger’s interpretations of their decisions on Vietnam, compares them to many primary sources, and finds the Nixon and Kissinger arguments “incomplete, disingenuous and self-serving.” Kimball backs up his highly critical judgement in great detail in this heavily documented account, which concentrates on the diplomatic aspects of Nixon’s and Kissinger’s Vietnam policies. Kimball also looks at both men’s psychological makeup—describing Nixon as “antisocial, paranoid, narcissistic, [and] passive-aggressive”—and concludes that Nixon’s oft-proclaimed “peace with honor” was a myth manufactured by administration spin doctors. Nixon’s plan to end the war, Kimball says, was far from the well-organized, “proactive” strategy that the late president claimed. Nixon and Kissinger’s four years of war-making, in Kimball’s view, “unnecessarily prolonged the war, with all of the baneful consequences of death, destruction and division for Vietnam and America that this brought about.” Kimball puts Nixon’s and Kissinger’s Vietnam War maneuverings under a microscope and discovers a malignant cancer on the presidency. (History Book Club selection)

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 1998

ISBN: 0-7006-0924-5

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Univ. Press of Kansas

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1998

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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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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.


Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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