A meticulously researched biography that reclaims WW I's unchallenged ace of aces from the mists and myths of time. Drawing on previously unavailable archives (including his subject's personal papers) and standard references, historian Kilduff sheds new light not only on the short, violent life of Manfred Albrecht von Richthofen but also on the development of military aviation in imperial Germany during what once was called the Great War. A scion of the Prussian nobility, Richthofen was a 22-year-old cavalry officer when hostilities broke out between the Central Powers and the Allies. Transferring to the fledgling Air Service in search of action, he qualified as a pilot and joined a fighter squadron on the Western Front in the summer of 1916. By the time Richthofen was killed in a dogfight over the Somme on April 21, 1918, he had been credited with 80 victories in aerial combat against British and French foes. A hunter by heritage as well as inclination, the deadly young aviator had a flair for the dramatic (exemplified in the blood-red color of his planes) and a penchant for collecting trophies from the aircraft of downed victims. A national hero long before his death, Richthofen also proved an aggressive tactician and talented commander. Kilduff provides a wealth of perspectives on the so-called Red Baron (``a 20th-century man with 19th-century ideals''), at one point likening him to the Teutonic knights who rampaged through Medieval Europe. In another vein, the author makes a fine job of distinguishing among the capabilities of the open-cockpit ``crates'' that vied for control of the unfriendly skies—Albatrosses, Fokkers, Nieuports, Sopwiths, Spads, etc. A vivid, tellingly detailed account of a master airman and the convulsive conflict in which he made a name for himself. (Photos- -not seen)

Pub Date: March 4, 1994

ISBN: 0-471-00877-X

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Wiley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1994

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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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