Civil War enthusiasts will appreciate Trudeau’s careful attention to detail, while general readers may wish for a more...



A balanced account of the famous—or infamous, depending on your sympathies—campaign that effectively ended the Civil War in the Deep South.

As former NPR executive producer Trudeau (Gettysburg, 2002, etc.) notes, William Tecumseh Sherman’s March to the Sea was not without its uneventful stretches; the diary entries of many of the soldiers, he grumbles, can be summarized with the phrase, “Nothing of interest to report.” Sadly, that applies to stretches of this book, which reports nearly every datum about the 1864 campaign, interesting or not, while skimping a touch on big-picture interpretations of what the campaign meant in the larger context of the Civil War. Early on, Trudeau promises psychodrama by observing that Sherman was grieving the loss of a son who died the year before. Of course, in that time of carnage, death was everywhere, and Trudeau does not pursue the question of how Sherman handled his sorrow. What he does do—and what will make this book controversial, at least among certain circles—is to hazard that the March to the Sea has been compressed in the popular memory as a frenzy of raiding and burning, whereas in reality the campaign was both longer and less brutal than that. Trudeau reckons, drawing on contemporary statisticians, that Sherman, “at his thoughtful, self-confident best” at the start of the march, was more restrained than he might have been, “blaming southerners for their complicity and deeming himself powerless in the random chance destructiveness of the storm he had unleashed.” Just so, rebel military resistance was somewhat tougher than the standard texts suggest, while the vaunted guerrilla resistance to Sherman’s foraging troops was less stiff and surely less organized. Sherman’s successful raid across southeastern Georgia served him well personally, however. Grant may have had doubts about the wisdom of sending an army so far from its base, but he esteemed Sherman highly thereafter.

Civil War enthusiasts will appreciate Trudeau’s careful attention to detail, while general readers may wish for a more vivid, cut-to-the-chase version of events.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-06-059867-9

Page Count: 704

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2008

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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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