Engaging reading for those interested in foreign policy and military spending.

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NATIONAL INSECURITY

THE COST OF AMERICAN MILITARISM

A 25-year CIA veteran examines how recent presidents have handled the military and defense spending.

As he left office in 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower gave a farewell address in which he warned against the influence of the “military-industrial complex,” theorizing that overinvestment in defense could compromise other domestic issues. Goodman (Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA, 2008, etc.) claims that in the 50 years since that speech, Eisenhower’s warning has gone unheeded, especially by the four most recent presidents: George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The author takes each president to task for his particular failings in foreign policy or his dealings with the military. While the chapter on the second Bush administration and its manipulation of post-9/11 intelligence reports feels slightly rehashed, the chapters on George H.W. Bush (covering the invasion of Panama and Desert Storm and Desert Shield) and Bill Clinton (which addresses “don’t ask; don’t tell,” as well as military incursions into Haiti, the Balkans, Somalia and Rwanda) are engrossing and thoughtful. After examining these four presidents, Goodman includes a chapter on the national missile-defense program, calling it “the most expensive and least effective weapons system in the U.S. arsenal.” This program was introduced during the Ronald Reagan administration (which spent more than $60 billion to develop it), leaving readers to speculate why Reagan was not included as a president guilty of runaway military spending. Goodman waits until nearly the last page before offering “some good news in the overall picture.” He offers a few words of praise for President Obama, who “does understand that the United States is far less exceptional than his opponents believe,” before ending with an ominous reminder: “The age of the superpower is over.”

Engaging reading for those interested in foreign policy and military spending.

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-87286-589-1

Page Count: 300

Publisher: City Lights

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 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...

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 sleek, vital history that effectively shows how, “from the outset, inequality was enforced with the whip, the gun, and the...

AN AFRICAN AMERICAN AND LATINX HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

A concise, alternate history of the United States “about how people across the hemisphere wove together antislavery, anticolonial, pro-freedom, and pro-working-class movements against tremendous obstacles.”

In the latest in the publisher’s ReVisioning American History series, Ortiz (History/Univ. of Florida; Emancipation Betrayed: The Hidden History of Black Organizing and White Violence in Florida from Reconstruction to the Bloody Election of 1920, 2005, etc.) examines U.S. history through the lens of African-American and Latinx activists. Much of the American history taught in schools is limited to white America, leaving out the impact of non-European immigrants and indigenous peoples. The author corrects that error in a thorough look at the debt of gratitude we owe to the Haitian Revolution, the Mexican War of Independence, and the Cuban War of Independence, all struggles that helped lead to social democracy. Ortiz shows the history of the workers for what it really was: a fatal intertwining of slavery, racial capitalism, and imperialism. He states that the American Revolution began as a war of independence and became a war to preserve slavery. Thus, slavery is the foundation of American prosperity. With the end of slavery, imperialist America exported segregation laws and labor discrimination abroad. As we moved into Cuba, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico, we stole their land for American corporations and used the Army to enforce draconian labor laws. This continued in the South and in California. The rise of agriculture could not have succeeded without cheap labor. Mexican workers were often preferred because, if they demanded rights, they could just be deported. Convict labor worked even better. The author points out the only way success has been gained is by organizing; a great example was the “Day without Immigrants” in 2006. Of course, as Ortiz rightly notes, much more work is necessary, especially since Jim Crow and Juan Crow are resurging as each political gain is met with “legal” countermeasures.

A sleek, vital history that effectively shows how, “from the outset, inequality was enforced with the whip, the gun, and the United States Constitution.”

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8070-1310-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Beacon

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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