In addition to World War II buffs, other readers will enjoy the intrigue, back-stabbing, action, and diplomacy in this...

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AMERICAN WARLORDS

HOW ROOSEVELT'S HIGH COMMAND LED AMERICA TO VICTORY IN WORLD WAR II

Attorney Jordan (Brothers, Rivals, Victors: Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley and the Partnership that Drove the Allied Conquest in Europe, 2011, etc.) delivers another page-turning chronicle of World War II.

Small details and little-mentioned facts make this a highly informative look at four men in charge in Washington, D.C., during that time. Franklin Roosevelt never made it easy for his military men. He was secretive and nonchalant, and his answers to their questions were often glib and equivocal. He was also very much under the spell of Winston Churchill. Planning meetings often began with the British presenting their strategy and the Americans, with no clue from FDR, nodding their heads. Luckily, the American contingent included Army Chief of Staff Gen. George C. Marshall; Secretary of War Henry Stimson; and Ernest J. King, leader of the Navy. Marshall had his hands full fighting the Allies as much as the enemy. In the Pacific, there were squabbles between Army and Navy, and Gen. Douglas MacArthur focused primarily on his promise to relieve the Philippines. The British harped on their needs to strike at Africa and the Balkans, while the American public and Joseph Stalin were demanding action against Hitler in France. American tanks, planes, and ships supplied all of these theaters during the war, but they could only produce so much. Furthermore, a second front was impossible until 1944. Throughout, the author provides astute and clever portrayals of the leaders, including Churchill’s pretense to his ancestor’s abilities, Stalin’s displays of compassion, and FDR’s meddling in naval projects. Jordan’s wonderful new insight into the leaders shows how lucky we were regarding Stimson’s prescient warnings about nuclear war, Marshall’s long-suffering, self-effacing loyalty, and King’s rough-and-ready fighting abilities.

In addition to World War II buffs, other readers will enjoy the intrigue, back-stabbing, action, and diplomacy in this well-written book.

Pub Date: May 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-451-41457-1

Page Count: 624

Publisher: NAL Caliber/Berkley

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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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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