PATTON AT BAY

THE LORRAINE CAMPAIGN, SEPTEMBER TO DECEMBER, 1944

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...

NIGHT

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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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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