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

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. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015


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



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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