A useful history of an important, fairly unknown part of the American contribution to the Allied victory.

FORGOTTEN

THE UNTOLD STORY OF D-DAY'S BLACK HEROES, AT HOME AND AT WAR

A long-overdue, sympathetic treatment of the barrage balloon operators who fought valiantly on the beaches of France.

In her debut, journalist and photographer Hervieux unearths a valuable piece of the D-Day landing story scarcely included in the official records: the contributions of the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion, the only African-American combat unit to land at Normandy. (The 320th medics were heralded for their heroics in saving lives.) The balloons, whose cables and bomb cargo kept the enemy flying too high to strafe the vulnerable coasts, were a novelty but a proven deterrent to the German aircraft. They had evolved from the time of Napoleon through the American Civil War and World War I. Since the armed barrage balloons were maneuvered by cables from the ground, they required highly skilled operators. Though not a military specialist, Hervieux became entranced by the stories of these “forgotten” heroes, several of whom she was able to track down in the last few years. She methodically follows the training of the young Southern black recruits such as Henry Parham and Wilson Monk, among others, at Camp Tyson, Tennessee, from late 1942 onward, where discrimination against black soldiers was staggering. Considered by the then-segregated military as “too dumb to fight,” African-Americans soldier knew they were proving themselves mightily in this unusual mission of diverting bombers from important sites in Britain. Shipped out of New York harbor in November 1943 to Britain during the preparation for D-Day, the 320th was delighted to be welcomed by the fairly unbiased Britons, who offered them a taste of freedom for the first time. The battalion landed on the Normandy beaches after the initial waves of casualties, establishing 20 balloons over Omaha and 13 over Utah on June 7 and incurring fierce enemy fire. Eventually, as many as 143 balloons floated 2,000 feet over the beaches, offering crucial protection to the precariously installed Allied troops.

A useful history of an important, fairly unknown part of the American contribution to the Allied victory.

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-231379-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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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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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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