The reader emerges from this complex narrative feeling that the case is not quite settled, but Shenon has helped us get...

A CRUEL AND SHOCKING ACT

THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION

Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination comes this startling book, which deepens the case for conspiracy while turning some existing conspiracy theories on their heads.

In 1964, the Warren Commission promulgated the lone-gunman theory of the assassination, which held that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone in killing the president. Former New York Times reporter Shenon, who had previously investigated the investigators in The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation (2008), writes that he was approached by a lawyer who had worked, as a young man, for the Warren Commission and who said that other once-young men had stories to tell before they passed on. Their stories are several; blended with the author’s own five-year campaign of reporting and research, they do not speak well for the nation’s intelligence services. (Whether things have gotten better or worse since then will be a matter of debate.) The aristocratic CIA competed with the blue-collar FBI for control of evidence and narrative; each agency had eyes on Oswald, but neither acted properly to contain him, even as Oswald, unlike other American soldiers who defected to the Soviet Union, was placed under special surveillance. Had either acted on available intelligence and arrested Oswald while he was in Mexico City in September 1963, the assassination might have been averted. As it was, writes Shenon, in Mexico, Oswald came under the sway of a woman who may have put him to work as an agent of Fidel Castro’s government: “There is no absolute proof…that Silvia Duran was anyone’s spy,” he writes, “although there was clearly plenty of suspicion about it in 1963 and 1964.” There seems to be plenty of evidence to suggest, though, that the intelligence agencies destroyed valuable documentation after the killing in a rush to cover up incompetence.

The reader emerges from this complex narrative feeling that the case is not quite settled, but Shenon has helped us get further than we’ve been before.

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9420-6

Page Count: 640

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 8, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 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...

NIGHT

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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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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