Solid if dutifully written. (2 8-page photo inserts, not seen)

THEIR LAST BATTLE

THE FIGHT FOR THE NATIONAL WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL

A richly detailed account of the ideas, politics, architecture, engineering, and construction of the controversial war memorial now rising on the Washington Mall.

Mills (American Studies/Sarah Lawrence; The New Killing Fields, 2002, etc.) sheds his leftist skin in this balanced, definitive account of the journey from idea to building in the era of multiple constituencies, multiple governmental agencies, and multiple egos in need of perpetual massage. Like Brokaw, Ambrose, and others who have written about those who won WWII, the author is eager to confer upon them the title of our “greatest generation”; he believes, as well, that the WWII Memorial is a fitting tribute. Mills begins with a glance backward at the laying of the cornerstone for the Bunker Hill Monument in 1825 and then dives right into today’s troubled waters. He credits the late Roger Durbin, a WWII veteran, for animating Ohio Congresswoman Mary Kaptur to begin in 1987 the process of bringing another memorial to the Mall. He tells, as well, about the controversies surrounding the construction of the other principal structures in the area. In 1922, he reminds us, organizers of the dedication ceremony for the Lincoln Memorial saw fit to rope off one area for “colored” members of the audience. Mills’s prose occasionally plods. For some Gertrude Stein–ish reason he almost always refers to the structure by its full name, and sometimes his sentences sink with the weight of the detail (“Insisting that in favoring placement of the World War II Memorial at the Rainbow Pool, it had indeed paid attention to its own Cultural Landscape Report, the National Park Service answered Catherine Slater’s September 5 letter by quoting back the Landscape Report’s published guidelines”). Nonetheless, his work teaches us that all of the monuments, which now seem so permanent and appropriate, were once nothing more than ideas that annoyed myriads of people.

Solid if dutifully written. (2 8-page photo inserts, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-465-04582-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2004

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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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