An infuriating, stinging rebuke to politicians who leave returning soldiers to their own devices.




A series of short testimonies by U.S. military veterans about their treatment at a Hot Springs, S.D., veterans facility.

Freelance writer Goulet gathered this collection primarily as a reaction to the U.S. government’s announced decision in December 2011 to close the veterans hospital in Hot Springs and pull the plug on its good works. The shutdown would require veterans to seek help hours away without reimbursement of travel expenses. Government officials have cited economic considerations and the hospital’s outdatedness, but these stories show these reasons as misguided at best. Each of the vignettes is brief—typically five pages or so—but harrowing. Goulet often lets the veterans speak for themselves about their war experiences and their profound aftereffects—mostly alcoholism or some form of post-traumatic stress disorder, including anger issues, insomnia, memory loss, fear of crowds or loud noises, impatience or irritability. The author fashions the veterans’ words into engaging narratives without overpolishing them, giving a rattling, unvarnished rawness to the material. There are more than two dozen stories here from World War II, Korea, the Balkans and one Middle Eastern fiasco after another, as well as additional brief comments from both vets and community members. The veterans, mostly men, tell stories about the distress they’ve lived with for years, and it’s clear that without a close sanctuary such as the Hot Springs facility—which is shown to have had a gentle hand, an easeful pace and a personal touch—many lives would be diminished. “We believe if we don’t stop these closures here and now, then veterans will have no choice but to relocate to urban centers where the focus will be on VA convenience and not on veteran care,” the author writes. Shut the Hot Springs hospital down? Readers may come away from this collection believing that the government should be cloning it in every state.

An infuriating, stinging rebuke to politicians who leave returning soldiers to their own devices.

Pub Date: July 16, 2013

ISBN: 978-1484053980

Page Count: 236

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2013

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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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