Armchair military historians will relish this account of bringing down the biggest prey in the German fleet.



Military historian Bishop (Battle of Britain, 2009, etc.) fashions an exciting, detail-packed account of the British obsession with dismantling Hitler’s prize battleship.

Named after the architect of the Imperial German Navy, Tirpitz was the great hope in Hitler’s plan to crack the supremacy of the British navy, the lifeblood of a nation reliant on maritime trade. Along with its sister ships, the steel-plated, seemingly invincible Tirpitz was employed in the North Atlantic to disrupt British trade convoys so that Hitler could turn his attention to attacking Russia. In his patiently descriptive account of the Battle of Britain, Bishop traces the key engagements, such as the bringing down of the Bismarck after an extremely costly pummeling by British torpedoes, which underscored how outmoded and outclassed the British fleet was. Subsequently, the British were on continual lookout for the deadly but elusive Tirpitz, about which Churchill maintained: “No other target is comparable to it.” Commanded initially by Capt. Karl Topp, with a crew of 2,600 living aboard in fairly luxurious style, Tirpitz was moved to Trondheim, Norway, keenly followed by British intelligence. Bomber Command devised several ill-begotten raids with “roly-poly” bombs, yet nothing could touch the massive ship, which posed a continual threat to the Russian convoys. Special Operations were enlisted to come up with a raiding plan, and new bombs and midget submarines were tested and honed in Scotland for the great mission undertaken in September 1943. Bishop builds a suspenseful story, delineating the crews involved on both sides in a sneak attack that required extraordinary courage from the seamen, who were under duress.

Armchair military historians will relish this account of bringing down the biggest prey in the German fleet.

Pub Date: April 9, 2013

ISBN: 978-1621570035

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Regnery History

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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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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