Goldstein's wide-angle observance of D-day's 50th anniversary is notable for the effective ways in which it spotlights events on the home front as well as in Normandy and links the past to the present. In retelling the story of June 6, 1944, the author (a New York Times editor) draws on interviews with surviving veterans of the hard-fought campaign that proved a turning point in WW II. He does a consistently fine job of recounting the many small-unit actions that drove stubborn German defenders from strongly fortified positions and yielded Anglo-American and Canadian forces an important victory, albeit at no small cost. While uncommon valor was a common virtue among the GIs and Tommies who participated in the assault, Goldstein (Spartan Seasons, 1980, etc.) leaves little doubt that the heroism and leadership exhibited on Utah Beach by General Teddy Roosevelt Jr. (who was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor) went far beyond the call of duty. Although vivid accounts of combat-zone engagements constitute the centerpiece of the author's panoramic narrative, he offers tellingly detailed glimpses of how news of the invasion was greeted throughout Great Britain and North America (where churches and synagogues were packed and one unfortunate newborn girl was named Dee Day Edwards). Goldstein also moves forward in time to provide perspectives on how liberators and the liberated have commemorated the 49 previous anniversaries of D-day. Even now (as in 1984), a German chancellor is discreetly seeking an invitation to the media- event ceremonies scheduled for the Cherbourg Peninsula, where legions of honored dead stand a perpetual watch. Pop history of a very high order. The resonant text is enriched by 90 splendid photos.

Pub Date: June 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-385-31283-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Delta

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 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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