Packed with facts, figures and anecdotes, the book doesn’t entertain like M*A*S*H, but it does provide a wealth of source...




Who served during the Korean War? How did their wartime and postwar experiences differ from those of World War II veterans? Why did they sometimes come to see themselves as not measuring up to the Greatest Generation?

In attempting to answer these questions, Pash (History/Fayetteville Technical Community Coll.) begins by examining who entered the service and why, what parts of the country they came from, how they accepted the call to serve, and how well they were trained for battle. Through interviews with Korean War veterans, the archives of the Eisenhower library, government documents and contemporary books and articles, the author constructs a portrait of the men and women who served in Korea. She reveals their attitudes once they were in Korea, where, as the war dragged on, troops came to question the reason for U.S. involvement and to understand that the American public had little knowledge of or interest in the conflict. She also looks at the experience of American POWs, who, upon their return, often faced questions of their possible brainwashing and collaboration with the enemy. Pash then briefly examines the situation of servicewomen, mostly nurses, and more extensively, the relations of black and white troops in the newly integrated armed forces. Manpower pressures had created a military life far less segregated than life at home, making the return to civilian life especially difficult for African-Americans, who faced continued discrimination. In general, Korean War veterans found that a hero’s welcome was not to be, that veterans organizations like the American Legion excluded them, that the VA offered less help to the physically or psychologically damaged, and that the education benefits were less generous than those of World War II’s GI Bill. Americans, it seemed, just wanted to forget about an inglorious war.

Packed with facts, figures and anecdotes, the book doesn’t entertain like M*A*S*H, but it does provide a wealth of source material for future historians. 

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8147-6769-6

Page Count: 344

Publisher: New York Univ.

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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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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