Of considerable interest to students of military history, strategy, tactics and geopolitics—and useful in making sense of...

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BETWEEN WAR AND PEACE

HOW AMERICA ENDS ITS WARS

A set of essays devoted to the shadowy ground on which the guns have ceased their roar, but could resume it at any moment.

War has its uses, as the various contributors to this anthology show, from the conquest of land and resources to the removal of a threat real or perceived. Editor Moten (History/United States Military Academy) offers a fresh view. The old notion that the end of a war is marked by victory just doesn’t work any more, for today, writes military historian Roger G. Spiller, “you will search in vain for any definition of victory in American military doctrine.” The ideal of victory still exists, of course, but a more pragmatic end seems to be a rather surprising one, at least coming from the pen of a serving officer: “In every war the aims of all sides, no matter how opposed at the beginning, gradually converge toward an agreement to stop fighting.” The rub would seem to be in that word “gradually,” as these essays reveal. Peter Maslowski rebrands the Indian Wars as the “300-Years War,” an eminently sensible take on the matter. Theodore Wilson looks at the Cold War as an extension of World War II, with peace not really breaking out for generations. The view of conflicts previously considered open and shut becomes more complicated here, with the American victory in the Mexican War coming to look very similar to the supposed “mission accomplished” in the Iraq War, complete with roadside bombs and guerrilla attacks. Some wars go on and on without apparent effect except to tire everyone out, but some have lasting influence—as with the Civil War, which, Joseph Glatthaar writes, transformed the U.S. Army “from a stumbling, inefficient, and ill-disciplined volunteer force into a progressive, sophisticated, efficient war-making machine.” Other contributors include Andrew Bacevich, Ira Gruber and Roger Spiller.

Of considerable interest to students of military history, strategy, tactics and geopolitics—and useful in making sense of the headlines, too.

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4391-9461-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2010

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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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