Sobering reading, and yet more evidence against the neocon adventure in the Middle East.

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IN THE BELLY OF THE GREEN BIRD

THE TRIUMPH OF THE MARTYRS IN IRAQ

To go by current polls, most Americans think American troops should be withdrawn from Iraq. To judge by freelance journalist Rosen’s account, most Iraqis agree.

“It is hard for Americans to understand just how deeply they are hated by ordinary Iraqis,” writes Rosen, who has been covering Iraq since the first days of the invasion. That invasion—which a hopeful Bush administration deemed a “liberation”—swiftly became an occupation, which, Rosen writes, translates into Arabic as ihtilal, the term applied to such historical events as the Crusaders’ invasions of the Holy Land, the Mongol sack of Baghdad in the 13th century and the British dominion over Mesopotamia early in the 20th century. In that light, the honorable thing to do is resist, and the call to do so made some unlikely alliances among sworn enemies, the Sunni and Shia sects that have since plunged Iraq into civil war. Long oppressed in Iraq, the Shias were the ones who, war planners assured us, were supposed to greet the Americans with bouquets; instead, as early as April 2003, Rosen writes, Shia crowds were out in the streets calling for death to America (and Israel, of course), while learned Shia clerics informed their followers that the Americans were only in Iraq for the oil, guided there by “global Masons.” Free to engage in politics since the fall of Saddam, the Shias swiftly formed an organized resistance against the “new Mongols,” namely the American army, which does not acquit itself well whenever it turns up in Rosen’s pages; the GIs, it seems, know better than to go bursting into mosques, say, but their officers tell them that that’s the reason they have guns. Of course, the former members of Iraq’s Hussein-era armed forces have guns, too, and so do the al-Qaeda fighters in Iraq, and so does everyone else arrayed against the invaders.

Sobering reading, and yet more evidence against the neocon adventure in the Middle East.

Pub Date: May 8, 2006

ISBN: 0-7432-7703-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2006

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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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