The most thorough and satisfying history yet of the campaigns in North Africa. (Two 16-page photo inserts, 18 maps)

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AN ARMY AT DAWN

THE WAR IN NORTH AFRICA, 1942-1943

First volume in a projected WWII trilogy by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Atkinson, who shows North Africa’s desert battlefields inspiring America’s raw recruits to rise up and defeat Nazi Germany’s dangerous professional army.

Given his success with modern military history (Crusade: The Untold Story of the Persian Gulf War, 1993, etc.), the penetrating historical insights Atkinson brings to bear on America’s 1942–43 invasion of the North African coast are not surprising. Neither the American leadership under Eisenhower nor the GIs themselves understood the level of fury it would take to defeat General Rommel’s Afrika Corps, argues the author. He finds that the relative ease American soldiers had in pushing aside lackluster Vichy French forces led US generals to also expect a token resistance from the German armies. It was anything but token, Atkinson finds; instead of rolling through the German panzers, untested American forces found themselves brutally manhandled by a more experienced enemy and disparaged as inferior soldiers by their British allies. The author describes Eisenhower’s gradual awakening to the need to protect American morale and prestige from British sniping as critical to finding the proper balance between command and international politics. Atkinson also demonstrates that early battle failures such as the one at Kasserine Pass toughened the American soldiers and their leadership: commanders like George Patton and Omar Bradley rose to refute British criticism; GIs learned that defeating the veteran Axis forces would take more personal discipline and sacrifice than they had ever imagined. By the end of the campaign in North Africa, the author convincingly argues, the American army emerged from North Africa ready to lead the Allied forces onto the European continent to finish off the Nazi threat.

The most thorough and satisfying history yet of the campaigns in North Africa. (Two 16-page photo inserts, 18 maps)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2002

ISBN: 0-8050-6288-2

Page Count: 704

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2002

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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 clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

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WHY WE'RE POLARIZED

A sharp explanation of how American politics has become so discordant.

Journalist Klein, co-founder of Vox, formerly of the Washington Post, MSNBC, and Bloomberg, reminds readers that political commentators in the 1950s and ’60s denounced Republicans and Democrats as “tweedledum and tweedledee.” With liberals and conservatives in both parties, they complained, voters lacked a true choice. The author suspects that race played a role, and he capably shows us why and how. For a century after the Civil War, former Confederate states, obsessed with keeping blacks powerless, elected a congressional bloc that “kept the Democratic party less liberal than it otherwise would’ve been, the Republican Party congressionally weaker than it otherwise would’ve been, and stopped the parties from sorting themselves around the deepest political cleavage of the age.” Following the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, many white Southern Democrats became Republicans, and the parties turned consistently liberal and conservative. Given a “true choice,” Klein maintains, voters discarded ideology in favor of “identity politics.” Americans, like all humans, cherish their “tribe” and distrust outsiders. Identity was once a preoccupation of minorities, but it has recently attracted white activists and poisoned the national discourse. The author deplores the decline of mass media (network TV, daily newspapers), which could not offend a large audience, and the rise of niche media and internet sites, which tell a small audience only what they want to hear. American observers often joke about European nations that have many parties who vote in lock step. In fact, such parties cooperate to pass legislation. America is the sole system with only two parties, both of which are convinced that the other is not only incompetent (a traditional accusation), but a danger to the nation. So far, calls for drastic action to prevent the apocalypse are confined to social media, fringe activists, and the rhetoric of Trump supporters. Fortunately—according to Klein—Trump is lazy, but future presidents may be more savvy. The author does not conclude this deeply insightful, if dispiriting, analysis by proposing a solution.

A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4767-0032-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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