A skillful historian demonstrates how courage and hope characterized the last act of the great campaign to bring peace to...




A detailed account of the final 10 days of World War II in Europe depicts, in full color, the collapse of the Nazi war machine and, with it, the genesis of the Cold War.

Noted British military historian Jones (Total War: From Stalingrad to Berlin, 2011, etc.) presents a microcosm of the fight against Germany, beginning with Hitler’s suicide and ending with the two official victory celebrations—May 8, 1945, for the Western Allies, the next day for the Russians. The Russians, who bore the brunt of the war in Europe, loom large in the author’s story, as they must. Privileged to enter Berlin first, the Red Army impelled the defeated German troops to scatter westward, seeking capture by the Americans. Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, whom Jones lauds for his fair dealing, was hard-pressed to maintain the Grand Alliance. In the 10 days that thrilled the world, sporadic fighting was suppressed, cease-fires implemented, and communities liberated. An anti-Bolshevik Russian unit had fought for the Germans and then switched sides. The book’s most moving passages describe the liberation of Mauthausen, Auschwitz, and other concentration camps. The author provides numerous historical flashbacks and copious extracts from contemporaneous records, diaries, and memoirs by writers ranging from Churchill, Stalin, and Eisenhower to little-known combatants, displaced persons, and arrogant functionaries. They serve to heighten the effect of the story the author brings to life with secure, professional expertise. Unlike connoisseurs of military history, casual readers may not be concerned with martial unit designations and some of the gritty details of battle formation, but the exploits of the men and women they represented are engrossing, sometimes even heartbreaking.

A skillful historian demonstrates how courage and hope characterized the last act of the great campaign to bring peace to Europe 70 years ago.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-451-47701-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: NAL Caliber/Berkley

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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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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