MARTYRS' DAY

CHRONICLE OF A SMALL WAR

A journalist's haunting, beautifully written record of the eventful time he spent in the Middle East before, during, and after the Gulf War. Kelly (now a New York Times correspondent) was in Baghdad on assignment for The Boston Globe and The New Republic before hostilities commenced. After witnessing the US-led coalition's first air strikes against the city, he moved on via Jordan to Israel in time for the Scud blitz of Tel Aviv. Having left the Jewish state through Egypt, Kelly made his way to Saudi Arabia, from where he followed allied ground forces into Kuwait. On the ruined road to the oil-rich sheikdom, liberated after a seven-month occupation, Kelly and his traveling companion became atypically involved spectators, reluctantly accepting the surrender of a battle-weary band of Iraqi soldiers (whom they turned over to rear- echelon Saudis). In the wake of the 100-hour walkover, the author trekked through the ravaged mountains of Kurdistan, eventually returning to Baghdad. Kelly has a sharp eye for telling detail and a gift for felicitous phrasing, as he writes, for example, of traffic whirling dervishly on the streets of Baghdad in the waning days of 1990 when Iraqis honored their war dead and tried to convince themselves another conflict would not come. His vivid reports on casualties along the only escape route from Kuwait City, on refugee camps in Iran, profiteering among the vanquished Iraqis, and other of combat's hellish consequences are not, however, for the squeamish. While Kelly offers almost no commentary, his perceptive observations on the human costs and moral ambiguities of war speak for themselves. As compelling and revelatory an account of the Gulf War as has yet been published.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-679-41122-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 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...

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 PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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