Historically accurate and well-researched: a welcome antidote to Hollywood’s airbrushed WWII romances. (16-page photo insert)

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THE USS ARIZONA

THE SHIP, THE MEN, THE PEARL HARBOR ATTACK AND THE SYMBOL THAT AROUSED AMERICA

A history of the construction, staffing, shipboard life, and shocking destruction at Pearl Harbor of the USS Arizona, coupled with an earnest meditation on its legacy in American history.

Journalist Jasper (Lighthouses of the Delaware Bay and River, not reviewed), historian Delgado (Lost Warships: An Archaeological Tour of War at Sea, not reviewed), and shipwreck preservationist Adams share the distinction of being among a select group of people the US government has allowed to visit the underwater wreckage of the Arizona. This rare honor gives the writers a unique perspective on the battleship’s place in American history and helps them to effectively bring it to life. Their detailed reconstruction of the vibrant shipboard culture, using sailors’ descriptions of naval preparations for the looming war against Japan, adds poignancy to their two-chapter description of the Arizona’s death-throes, as those same sailors serve as eyewitnesses to the Japanese bombing that ignited the battleship’s ammunition magazines. Many of the survivors, some horribly burned or otherwise wounded, went on to fight the Japanese into submission at Midway and in other important naval battles. Just as the ship itself now exists as an underwater national monument, the authors treat the sailors who served on the Arizona as living testaments to the need for continual national vigilance against criminal aggressors. Their reconsideration of this lesson stands as a thoughtful and passionate addition to the tragic legacy of Pearl Harbor.

Historically accurate and well-researched: a welcome antidote to Hollywood’s airbrushed WWII romances. (16-page photo insert)

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2001

ISBN: 0-312-28690-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2001

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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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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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