A lively history in its own right, offering an authoritative context for those hooked on the novels of Forester, O'Brian,...



Until now, there has been no general history of the classic age of naval warfare—the 40 or so years between the American Revolution and the fall of Napoleon. Miller (Star-Spangled Men, 1997, etc.) has finally done the job and done it superbly.

In his thorough, often gripping tale, the author combines fast-paced narrative with clear analysis to portray the exploits of American and British fighting men at sea. (The French, Dutch, and other navies of the day, while unequal to the other two, unfortunately get less attention.) Assuming that many readers will know little of naval life, Miller carefully describes warship construction, the harsh life of the sea, and the awful realities of battle. Although he seems more admiring of the average sailors than distressed by the shipboard carnage he depicts, he goes farther than most to emphasize the courage of seaborn fighting men. American sailors get their due, but since this was the greatest age of British naval might, the book's central figures are the sailors of the North Sea. Not surprisingly, the hero of Miller's tale who knits the narrative together is Horatio Nelson, the victorious (and fatally wounded) British admiral-in-chief at Trafalgar in 1805. While Miller makes nothing of it, Nelson's rise to top command, knighthood, and undying fame reveals the porousness of Britain's rigid class society when genius showed its hand. On the American side, the absence of a long-established navy cost the nation dearly. Yet the young US force enjoyed its share of men who in their rough abilities and dogged pride were often a match for their more experienced enemies. At this distance, we can take off our hats to both sides and cheer the author of this fine work as well.

A lively history in its own right, offering an authoritative context for those hooked on the novels of Forester, O'Brian, and Kent. (4 maps, 20 illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: July 7, 2000

ISBN: 0-471-18517-5

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Wiley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

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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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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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