So Oswald did it alone after all. Hmmm. Watch for talk-show debates over this one—maybe involving Oliver Stone, whose 1991...

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A SIMPLE ACT OF MURDER

11/22/1963

If only Dealey Plaza could talk: a fresh, counterintuitive take on the JFK assassination.

“There are some mysteries in life that can never be solved. But murder is simple. Even this one.” Better known for his role in another inquest, onetime LAPD detective turned true-crime retailer Fuhrman (Death and Justice, 2003) delivers a report on the killing of John F. Kennedy in Dallas 43 years ago. There is some newsworthiness in Fuhrman’s take on the theories surrounding the assassination—and in his perhaps surprising verdict. Fuhrman considers the possibility of a shooter in addition to Lee Harvey Oswald, supposedly placed on the “grassy knoll” alongside the presidential parade route; the forensics, he asserts, do not easily admit the prospect, because the knoll “is a terrible position for a sniper,” and if there were a shooter there, he missed everyone in the line of sight. Fuhrman also examines the career of Oswald, noting that KGB files indicate that no one in Soviet intelligence ever tried to recruit him, but also that he did qualify as a Marine sharpshooter and—very interestingly—admitted to attempting to kill another political figure just before Nov. 22. Fuhrman looks, too, at the “Magic Bullet” theory championed, notably, by Warren Commission investigator Arlen Specter, a theory that involves a maze of improbabilities and much suspension of disbelief and logic. There were indeed conspiracies surrounding the death of the president, promoted, the author says, by Robert Kennedy, J. Edgar Hoover and even the widowed First Lady.

So Oswald did it alone after all. Hmmm. Watch for talk-show debates over this one—maybe involving Oliver Stone, whose 1991 film JFK provides the antithesis of Fuhrman’s book.

Pub Date: April 11, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-072154-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2006

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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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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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