A detailed analysis of one of the few WWII campaigns led by General George S. Patton that could be called a failure. Rickard, a Ph.D. candidate in military history at the University of New Brunswick, looks at the period from September through December, 1944, when Patton, fresh from his successes in Normandy, attempted to race through the French province of Lorraine and cross the Rhine river into the German homeland. Contested by various forces throughout history in endless wars, Lorraine was held in 1942 by the Nazis; Patton was delayed in getting there by inclement weather, stronger-than-anticipated German resistance, and a countryside not well suited to the large, offensive tank campaigns Patton favored. Rickard’s writing is ponderous and academic, but he makes many relevant points. Revered for his bold and decisive strategic armored troop maneuvers, in which he swiftly swept through large amounts of enemy territory with a flair for capturing headlines and enemy troops, Patton in this case didn—t adapt his usually successful style to a new situation. The author faults the general for failing to learn how to wage war on a static battlefield where the enemy was firmly entrenched, and for failing to fully see that his forces” engagement in Lorraine was in part intended as a diversionary tactic while the Allies captured the German industrial heartland of the Ruhr. The campaign ended when Patton pulled out of Lorraine to come to the aid of the beleaguered American army at Bastogne in the famed Battle of the Bulge; the general died a year later after a car crash in occupied Germany. A strictly academic study of Patton’s generalship in one significant battle. (maps)

Pub Date: March 31, 1999

ISBN: 0-275-96354-3

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1999

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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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