NO MORE VIETNAMS

            After The Real War and Real Peace:  the real Nixon.  Couched as a manual – how to meet the Soviet challenge in the Third World without the soft-hearts interfering – this is actually Nixon’s diatribe against the antiwar movement, academics, the media, and everyone else he thinks lost Vietnam.  Vietnam was a morally correct war for the United States, Nixon argues, since we were trying to save a country from communist tyranny.  Virtually alone except for the far right, he still claims that Vietnam was not a civil war; that the 1954 Geneva accords set up what everyone present understood to be two countries.  The Diem government was a reasonably decent one by Asian standards, he argues; the Kennedy administration, with its penchant for covert action, blundered in initiating the coup that ousted him.  (That blunder he attributes to media misrepresentation of Diem as a persecutor of the Buddhists – who were themselves political manipulators with communist leadership.)  For his part, Ho Chi Minh was a murderer and charlatan who “flim-flam-med” the “pathetically gullible O.S.S. officers” he met (during and after WWII) into believing that he was a nationalist.  Nixon recites a long string of North Vietnamese atrocities and abuses, complaining that My Lai got disproportionate attention.  He cites no sources here or elsewhere, however, and regularly turns isolated incidents into generalizations.  Of the post-1969 antiwar movement, he writes:  “students shot at firemen and policemen, held college administrators hostage at knifepoint, stormed university buildings with shotguns in hand, burned buildings, smashed windows, trashed offices, and bombed classrooms.”  At Kent State, “someone started shooting”; the antiwar movement aided the enemy; and Nixon implies that the blood of Cambodia is on the protesters’ hands, not his.  Nixon may have timed his self-defense to Reagan’s aggressive foreign policy and the decline of the Vietnam syndrome, expecting a more sympathetic hearing.  Instead, he will undoubtedly reignite a lot of fires that burned out long ago.

Pub Date: April 15, 1985

ISBN: 0877956685

Page Count: -

Publisher: Borders Group

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1985

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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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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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