Parallel Lines

Rizk, in his debut, warns of the coming destruction of the country unless its hapless citizens rise up and repent.
Debut author Rizk, who once taught calculus to Chinese exchange students in Englewood, New Jersey, reveals little else about himself in this diatribe against greed, immortality and pervasive government corruption. His historical narrative comes no closer to the present day than the pernicious behavior of the two Bush administrations; the last decade goes largely unmentioned. But the book’s theme, which draws heavily on biblical prophecy in the Book of Revelation, is clear: Unless societies and their leaders execute justice, then doom is inevitable. The timing of the destruction, Rizk says, will depend on when less than a handful of godly people can be found in a city or a state, and when God finally runs out of patience. However, there will be warnings first, the author says, such as when terrorists made an abortive earlier attempt in 1993 to take down the World Trade Center before it finally fell in 2001. Although the book tries to be enigmatic, it broadly hints that the Babylon prophesized to fall in the Book of Revelation precisely fits the profile of modern-day New York, right down to the seven letters in each name. The author’s fervent hope, he says, is to get his message out that repentance is the only real homeland security before powerful forces intercede to shut him up. This brief book has the quality of a New York City cab ride, during which the driver holds forth while the passenger listens with varying levels of interest and credulity. Some moments have a distant ring of truth, as when Rizk suggests that debates about abortion never mention that “unmarried women like to have sex.” However, the book then moves into moral zealotry, as it goes on to say that “their gods are their bellies and fornications are their glory.” The author also notes that Harvard and Yale “sell their degrees to anyone who can pay”; many people who have applied with money in hand, however, would not agree.
A fulfillment of the author’s desire to publicly speak the truth as he sees it.

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-1493124114

Page Count: 62

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2014

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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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