A damned-with-faint-praise report on George Bush from Time magazine's White House correspondents. In their ambivalent audit, Duffy and Goodgame accentuate the presumptively negative aspects of the Chief Executive's first term, focusing on his putative disinterest in domestic affairs. Their plausible, if conventional, thesis is that the incumbent is an essentially reactive steward who sought high office not to remake the country but merely to serve it. While giving Bush full marks for his success in building the military coalition that drove Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, the authors insist that he's essentially a Tory whose deeply conservative worldview keeps him, for fear of making ``the wrong mistake,'' from responding boldly to such dramatic events as the Soviet bloc's breakup and mainland China's savage repression of its dissidents. According to Duffy and Goodgame, the President's risk-averse mind-set and abhorrence of instability virtually preclude substantive economic initiatives on the home front. They point out, for example, that he pays lip service to fiscal virtue without troubling to impose budgetary discipline, and that he advocates ``points of light'' in preference to a legislative agenda designed to achieve substantive change. Characterizing Bush as pro-business, not pro-market, the authors conclude that his purposefully low-key approach has indeed reduced the public's expectations of what government can and should do, thereby giving him an excellent chance of winning reelection. Paradoxically, perhaps, Duffy and Goodgame rather like their subject, expressing admiration for, among other qualities, his instinctive decency and ``gritty ruthlessness.'' As one unfortunate consequence, what evidently was meant to be a hard-hitting exposÇ comes off as a halfhearted hatchet job.

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 1992

ISBN: 0-671-73720-1

Page Count: 356

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1992

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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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