An uneven but useful chronicle of a far-fetched history whose woeful truth is only now emerging.

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PATRIOTIC BETRAYAL

THE INSIDE STORY OF THE CIA’S SECRET CAMPAIGN TO ENROLL AMERICAN STUDENTS IN THE CRUSADE AGAINST COMMUNISM

A multilayered, mystifying exposé of how the CIA infiltrated and ultimately directed the U.S. National Student Association in thwarting international communist goals from 1950 to 1967.

As one of the students involved in the NSA in 1965, along with her husband, American Prospect contributing editor Paget (co-author: Running as a Woman: Gender and Power in American Politics, 1993) was sworn to silence when apprised of the CIA’s role in a government agency that was considered liberal and left-leaning. Why and how would the CIA financially support a student-run agency that bolstered revolutionary, civil liberties–rich causes, such as the Algerian move for independence, the Hungarian revolution against Soviet dictatorship and the American civil rights movement, while it condemned the witch hunts by the House Un-American Activities Committee? In her thoroughgoing but occasionally convoluted narrative, Paget gradually unravels the full story for the first time—since the truth first emerged from a shocking internal leak to Ramparts magazine in 1967. The NSA was initially inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt’s American Student Union of the 1930s, which had comfortably included socialist and communist groups until the Soviet Union signed a nonaggression pact with Nazi Germany in 1939. Thus the student movement had to be “restructured” in order to train a new generation of leaders, hopefully wedded to FDR’s New Deal policies and yet firmly anti-communist. Due largely to a progressive Catholic student bloc pressing for a new national student group in favor of affiliation with the International Union of Students, based in Prague, the NSA would ultimately be manipulated by CIA operatives as a rival to the IUS and a channel through which to temper the communist influence. Elaborate ruses allowed only the top NSA leaders to be “witting” accomplices to the CIA infiltration.

An uneven but useful chronicle of a far-fetched history whose woeful truth is only now emerging.

Pub Date: March 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-300-20508-4

Page Count: 552

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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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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