Filling over 800 pages, Caddick-Adams casts a wide net, delving deep into the background, conduct, consequences and even...



A comprehensive account of the bloodiest battle in American history.

Caddick-Adams (Military History/U.K. Defence Academy; Monte Cassino: Ten Armies in Hell, 2013, etc.) points out that beginning in 1943, Hitler stopped appearing in public, and his knowledge of the world was based solely on phone, radio and written reports. The failed assassination attempt on July 20, 1944, organized by army officers, did not improve his usual paranoia and made him even less inclined to listen to military advisers. Announced in September 1944, a massive offensive was “irrational, counterintuitive, even suicidal.” It was less a counterattack than a “political game-changer that would shatter the coalition ranged against him” and prove to the nation that, despite the plot to remove him, he was still in control. As expected, his generals hated it. The buildup required withdrawing essential forces from the Russian front, denuding the remaining reserves, and creating new units of poorly equipped and inadequately trained men formerly considered too young or too old to fight. Launched on Dec. 16, 1944, it succeeded brilliantly for a week and then stalled as defenders fought with unexpected stubbornness, the terrible weather took its toll, and superior numbers, technology and logistics (the Wehrmacht depended on horse-drawn transport) won the day. As Caddick-Adams notes, “campaigns like the Ardennes remind us that in most cases to prosecute war with success ultimately you must do this on the ground…by putting your young men (and today, women) in the mud.” The author also provides a comprehensive glossary and two sections that will be of most interest to military historians: “Orders of Battle” and the “comparative rank structures” of the German, American and British forces.

Filling over 800 pages, Caddick-Adams casts a wide net, delving deep into the background, conduct, consequences and even historiography of this iconic battle, so even experienced military buffs will find plenty to ponder.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0199335145

Page Count: 872

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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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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