A slam-bang military drama whose unambiguous worldview overshadows the larger questions raised by the facts at hand.

HUNTING CHE

HOW A U.S. SPECIAL FORCES TEAM HELPED CAPTURE THE WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS REVOLUTIONARY

Much like “the day we got Bin Laden,” the devil is in the details in this military procedural about one of the few wins of Cold War–era spycraft.

Investigative journalist Weiss (No Way Out, 2012, etc.) and co-author Maurer apply many of the same fast-paced stylistic techniques that made a best-seller of Maurer’s collaboration with Navy SEAL Team 6’s Mark Owen (No Easy Day, 2012). This nonfiction thriller about the manhunt and subsequent execution of radical icon Che Guevara (1928–1967) focuses on his final months fostering a revolution in Bolivia. The authors are fortunate to have an extraordinary cast of characters on which to hang their story. By far the most fascinating is Maj. Ralph “Pappy” Shelton, leader of the Green Berets, whose compassionate ideas about counterinsurgency were decades before their time. He was in country to train the Bolivian army to find, trap and capture Guevara’s small army of soldiers. His right-hand man was Gary Prado Salmon, noble commander of the wildly incompetent Bolivian Rangers recruited for the task. The whole affair was crucial to the successful near-dictatorship of President René Barrientos Ortuno, whose government was stealing millions in U.S. aid. The spooks working behind the scenes were led by two Cuban exiles–turned–CIA agents: Gustavo Villoldo, whose father committed suicide at Castro’s command, and Félix Rodríguez, who successfully infiltrated Cuba in advance of the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion. Blatantly pitched to armchair warriors and airport bookstores, the book is indeed exciting to read. Whether readers buy into the romantic revisionism of the cult of Che or take the authors’ position that he was an uncommon thug matters little until the finale. Surprisingly, the coda is more humanizing of its antagonist than readers might expect.

A slam-bang military drama whose unambiguous worldview overshadows the larger questions raised by the facts at hand.

Pub Date: July 2, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-425-25746-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dutton Caliber

Review Posted Online: June 9, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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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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ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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