CRUSADE

THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE PERSIAN GULF WAR

Exhaustive, albeit consistently absorbing, record of the 42- day Gulf War that offers fresh, often startling, perspectives on the planning and conduct of what the author characterizes as ``a brilliant slaughter.'' Focusing almost entirely on military operations, Pulitzer- winning Washington Post correspondent Atkinson (The Long Gray Line, 1989) provides a chronological account of how the US-led coalition liberated Kuwait. In the course of doing so, he discloses that Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf could be an imperious martinet given to volcanic rages that not only cowed subordinates but also disturbed superiors (including Defense Secretary Richard Cheyney), who considered relieving him. The author also includes new details on, among other matters, how Washington persuaded Israel to eschew retaliation for Scud strikes; the aerial assault on Baghdad's Al Firdes bunker (which killed over 200 civilians and led to restrictions on strategic bombing); the hit-or-miss efforts of allied navies to clear mines from important waterways; disputes between intelligence agencies as to damage assessments; secret routes flown by US missiles on their way to enemy targets; the command decision to halt a rout short of annihilation; and the post-ceasefire action that decimated a fleeing Republican Guard division. Atkinson's episodic narrative also affords a coherent log of the successful air/sea/land campaign to oust Saddam from Kuwait. He recounts the contributions of the hang-loose French and British contingents, and unobtrusively puts crucial Gulf engagements in clearer context with allusions to feats of arms from the distant and recent past. Nor does Atkinson fail to point out that the professionalism displayed in achieving a deliberately limited triumph at a modest cost in casualties all but erased the stigma left by US involvement in Vietnam. Military history of a very high order. (Photos and maps—not seen) (First printing of 75,000; first serial to The Washington Post; Main Selection of the History Book Club)

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 1993

ISBN: 0-395-60290-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1993

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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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