From former Newsweek correspondent Buckley, an intriguing history of the demise of the corrupt Noriega regime—and of America's close relationship with it. Buckley's tale of the rise of Noriega to power is, for Americans, not simply the standard story of Third World despotism. Since its creation by a group of Americans and European businessmen, Panama's domestic and foreign affairs have been dominated by the US. Buckley shows convincingly how Noriega exploited American ties in order to perpetuate his own power within Panama and maximize profit—Reagan Administration officials knew of Noriega's drug activities, but tolerated them because of Noriega's help in their efforts to subvert the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua. Buckley describes straightforwardly how Noriega's murder of a political rival, Dr. Hugo Spadafora, led to sensational stories in the American press, an international outcry, calls for Noriega's ouster, and ultimately to a collapse of relations between the US and Panama. Buckley tells also of the plebiscite that resulted in the election of Guillermo Endara, which Noriega invalidated, and of the failed coup attempt. Finally, he describes ``Operation Just Cause,'' the American invasion that resulted in Noriega's ouster but that failed to achieve the Bush Administration's goals for Panama (Bush promised $1 billion in aid, but Congress eventually approved only $420 million, of which only $120 million reached Panama; poverty, unemployment, and crime levels soared in the ruined country) or for Noriega (while Noriega remains in prison, it appears increasingly unlikely he will be punished for any crime. A forthright, fast-paced story that illustrates the frequent absurdity of American intervention in Panama, and the failure of American policy toward that country.

Pub Date: June 3, 1991

ISBN: 0-671-72794-X

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1991

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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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