A moving memoir of the author’s experiences as an air force pilot throughout the 1980s and the Persian Gulf War, that also confronts his seeming postwar diagnosis of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and his subsequent realization that he did not have ALS, but rather, “Gulf War syndrome.— While lacking the polish of an experienced writer, Donnelly makes up for this with an impressive degree of candor—discussing his reluctance, for example, to see a doctor although he fears that his flying skills have been impaired—and manages to convey his feelings of loyalty to the armed services, even in the wake of his discovery that those very same forces had experimented on him with medicines not yet approved by the FDA. The book begins with the disabled Donnelly’s current flying—in a video game, then turns back to his training and early military career. He ably conveys the rigor of air force flight school and assesses the difficulties of maintaining a family in the military. More interesting, though, is his take on the attitudes of front-line pilots at the tail end of the Cold War and his own feeling of a loss of mission as bases began closing down in Europe. But all of that alters, and Donnelly’s own sense of anticipation builds, as the situation escalates toward war in the Persian Gulf. The sections of Falcon’s Cry dealing with the war are dramatic and unlikely to disappoint anyone who watched the “CNN war” on a TV set—although Donnelly admits that he can—t fully divulge all that happened over Iraq and Kuwait. Donnelly’s tale of his personal sacrifices of health, mobility, and career quite naturally overshadow the victory in the Gulf. An honest, deeply felt look at the human cost of war. (photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-275-96462-0

Page Count: 265

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1998

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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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