Moving, powerful and overwhelmingly distressing.

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BOOTS ON THE GROUND BY DUSK

THE LIFE & DEATH OF PAT TILLMAN

Eulogy, investigative report and all-out condemnation of the U.S. military—and those who control it.

When NFL player Pat Tillman gave up a multimillion-dollar contract to enlist in 2002, more than a few people—including his family—questioned his judgment. Inspired by 9/11, however, Tillman and his brother Kevin chose to become Army Rangers. Two years later, Pat was killed in Afghanistan. Hailed as a heroic patriot by the Bush administration during a period when good news was in short supply, Tillman was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart for his valor—accolades that seemed almost cruel when it came to light that Tillman was killed under mysterious circumstances by members of his own platoon. Though known primarily as a football player, Tillman’s athletic feats are little more than footnotes in his mother’s plaintive, cathartic reminiscence about Pat’s childhood and his closeness with brothers Richard and Kevin, relationships with friends and abundant intellectual curiosity. Her rage over his death—and the obfuscation that followed—is palpable, however, and is at least as strong as her grief. Alongside fond memories and recollections of Pat’s charismatic bluntness and self-sacrificing nature, Mary details her family’s exhaustive search for the truth with the help of allies ranging from Senator John McCain to retired General Wesley Clark to numerous investigative reporters. Standing in the way, however, are layers of military bureaucracy, blocking every attempt to get records, and, perhaps, an administration unwilling to admit that it was fully prepared to leverage Pat’s accidental death as a tool to increase support for the war. Mary’s tender tributes are achingly sincere, though they sometimes sit awkwardly alongside the in-depth details surrounding the search for the truth. But the chilling results yielded by the Tillman family’s unflagging efforts indicate that Pat’s death was, at best, a result of gross negligence and incompetence on the part of the U.S. Army and, at worst, a sinister coverup by high-ranking officials willing to lie to a soldier’s family and hoodwink the public in exchange for higher approval ratings.

Moving, powerful and overwhelmingly distressing.

Pub Date: May 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-59486-880-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Rodale

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2008

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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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