A little-known set of moving adventures, well-researched and -presented.



A son learns late in life about his bomber pilot father’s secretive, crucial role in saving POWs amid the mayhem of the last months of World War II.

Scientific writer Trimble learned the full story behind his father Robert’s flying missions at the end of World War II only in the last years of his father’s long life (he died in 2009 at age 90). However, the author always knew that his father, a captain and “regular guy” from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, courageously flew 35 raids over Germany and France in 1944 while an officer based in England. Yet there was more: Just before he flew his last B-17 mission in December 1944 and was handed a “Lucky Bastard” certificate to head home and see his wife and new baby girl, he was apprised of a new tour planned for him, supposedly “out of the combat zone.” As the Russians pushed back the front line, liberating German concentration camps, POWs were set loose amid the chaos, often harassed and worse by the Russians. Capt. Trimble, given an Office of Strategic Services passport and with little idea that he was actually going to work largely as a spy, flew into Poltava Air Base, Ukraine, headquarters of U.S. Eastern Command, which was once a Luftwaffe launch point but now served as a stopover base for Allied long-range bombing missions. During the next few tense months, under the resentful scrutiny of the Soviets, Trimble had to seek out American POWs, stranded flight crews and others he took pity on (a group of 400 deserted Frenchwomen), feed and shelter them, and arrange for their safe transport to Odessa and elsewhere. The enemy became the obstructionist Russians, who did not want the Americans snooping in their backyard. Ultimately, the American captain returned home shaken and traumatized from what he had witnessed.

A little-known set of moving adventures, well-researched and -presented.

Pub Date: Feb. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-425-27604-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton Caliber

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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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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