A powerful screed against Euro-racism, diminished slightly by its tone of cosmopolitan revulsion.




British journalist Fraser, in the course of shaping a television documentary, surveyed the topography and assessed the personalities of Continental hatred.

His book is a tour of nightmare Europe, from the tormentors of Asians in Leicester to the ill-disguised Nazi wannabes of Belgium, from Holocaust denier David Irving to French Front fascist Le Pen. From anti-Semitic Gallic provinces to Slavic hell, Fraser expertly sets the scene for deconstructing the mad fustian and malevolent bombast of EU xenophobia. The lunatics, the vigilantes, the demonic right-wing nuts are examined in person, interviewed by the author with fascinated curiosity tinged with patent distaste. (He succumbs to physical nausea after one tête-à-tête.) The protagonist-reporter, consorting with demagogues in cheap suits and skinheads in Doc Martens instead of jackboots, is, understandably, not entirely objective. Delightfully ad hominem, he describes the halitosis, glass eyes, stained fingers, blotched complexions, and rodent teeth of his nasty subjects. World-weary disgust is Fraser’s forte, and soon his text takes on the style of politics discussed while sucking on an unfiltered cig pinched between thumb and forefinger. But this is an urgent alarm. Are these performers actually threatening a return to the awful middle of the 20th century—for which see the ethnically cleansed Balkans—or are they simply demonic totems like, perhaps, Austria’s Herr Haider? Does press observation alter and foster the evil subjects being observed? How far does, should, or must tolerance go? Ultimately, Fraser concludes, there is an incipient danger, if not yet a clear and present one. Banal or not, he says, the only real hindrance to hatred rests with each of us.

A powerful screed against Euro-racism, diminished slightly by its tone of cosmopolitan revulsion.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2001

ISBN: 1-58567-107-X

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Overlook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 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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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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