Students and young adults will especially value this accessible, personable work.




An impassioned defense of the Nuremberg legacy by California supreme-court judge Ehrenfreund, a former journalist at the war-crimes trials.

After serving with the occupation forces at the end of World War II, the author became a reporter for The Stars and Stripes, covering the trials of the captured Nazi high command from 1945 to 1949. In this pertinent, thorough overview, Ehrenfreund revisits the initial trial and considers its legacy, both as it affected his decision to become a trial lawyer, and the important precedents it has set in terms of prosecuting and checking future crimes against humanity. The author begins near the end of the war, when Secretary of War Henry Stimson and lawyer Murray Bernays successfully convinced President Roosevelt that a trial rather than summary execution was morally necessary in order to expose Hitler’s plan as a criminal conspiracy and to establish a full record of Nazi atrocities. Supreme Court associate justice Robert H. Jackson, appointed chief prosecutor by President Truman, insisted that the Nazis must have a fair trial: due process, a lawyer for each, presumption of innocence. Hermann Goering, Rudolf Hess and 19 other defendants were charged with conspiracy to wage war, waging aggressive war, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Few witnesses were called; the bulk of the case was made with a mountain of documentary evidence. Despite the defendants’ charges of unfairness, the trial convicted 18 on at least one count, and 12 were hanged. From this astounding precedent, the author considers the successes and failures of the 12 subsequent Nuremberg trials and the Tokyo trial of Japanese war leaders, as well as the Nuremberg precedent in cases of medical ethics, human rights, racial prejudice, criminal big business and the establishment of a long-overdue international court to try the world’s dictators. The author makes a tremendous case for adhering to the Nuremberg legacy of fair treatment for even the most odious offenders.

Students and young adults will especially value this accessible, personable work.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-1-4039-7965-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2007

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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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