A masterly, exciting study of character and tactics in World War II.




An inspired collective biography of the three American generals—and friends—who conquered the Nazis.

Born too late to be involved in World War I, these three soldiers—Dwight Eisenhower, George Patton and Omar Bradley—all graduates of West Point, were plunged into the quagmire of World War II by their 50s, and they took up the challenge with relish. When Gen. George C. Marshall was named the U.S. Army’s Chief of Staff in 1939, he maneuvered the three talented career officers to plum positions, though it was Eisenhower’s appointment as Commanding General, European Theater of Operations, in 1942, that would determine the fates of the other two. Eisenhower was the master planner, while his longtime friend Patton, a cocky patrician with a penchant for tanks and profanity, proved his striker—the Stonewall Jackson to his Robert E. Lee, as Patton had joked. Gen. Bradley, the tall, quiet Missourian, an instructor of math and tactics, was the last to be called overseas, sent to work with Patton in North Africa; he would eventually take over Patton’s II Corps to brilliant effect. Patton, meanwhile, begrudged Eisenhower’s insistence on moving in tandem with the Allies, and suspected he was pro-British, while Eisenhower and Bradley were frequently enraged by Patton’s blustery, precipitous style, especially during the conquest of Sicily. A master assault general, however, Patton was Eisenhower’s heavy hitter in the Operation Overlord amphibious invasion of 1944. Ably marshalling a considerable amount of research, Jordan (Lone Star Navy: Texas, the Fight for the Gulf of Mexico, and the Shaping of the American West, 2005, etc.) fashions a truly compelling narrative of three outsized American military figures.

A masterly, exciting study of character and tactics in World War II.

Pub Date: April 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-451-23212-0

Page Count: 672

Publisher: NAL Caliber/Berkley

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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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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