A worthy addition to Metropolitan’s American Empire Project: a devastating account that policymakers—not to mention American...



The United States government underwrote the rise of radical Islam, argues a frequent contributor to The Nation and The American Prospect.

Any American who watches the news is familiar with the photograph of a younger Donald Rumsfeld looking chummy with Saddam Hussein. Forget that picture, Dreyfuss tells us. The more important photograph shows President Eisenhower looking chummy with Said Ramadan, bigwig in the Muslim Brotherhood. (If you’ve never heard of the Muslim Brotherhood, a militant group that among other things morphed into Hamas, all the more reason to read this book.) That photograph, states the author, shows in miniature the history of American Middle East foreign policy since WWII. Concerned about limiting the spread of communism and arresting the development of leftist Arab nationalist political parties, the U.S. has over and over again allied with and supported radical Islamic groups throughout the Middle East. The CIA, of course, sponsored the 1953 coup in Iran and financed an ayatollah who had founded a radical pan-Islamic political group; American taxpayers funded an Israeli government that funneled money to fanatical Islamic Palestinian activists who, the Israeli government believed, would ultimately weaken the secular PLO; and so forth. The U.S. didn’t dream up this strategy, actually. The British did the same thing, partnering in the late-19th century with the great-granddaddy of ideological Islamism, Jamal Eddine al-Afghani. Dreyfuss insists that today’s geopolitics is not the inevitable result of a “clash of civilizations,” but at least in part the fruit of shortsighted, ill-conceived U.S. foreign policy. His account is not a disinterested history, but rather a stinging indictment of the Bush administration for, among other things, replicating the same strategy in Iraq: toppling a decidedly secular regime and encouraging Islamists to grab power (to wit, the administration’s alliance with Ali al-Sisatani).

A worthy addition to Metropolitan’s American Empire Project: a devastating account that policymakers—not to mention American citizens—ignore at their peril.

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2005

ISBN: 0-8050-7652-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2005

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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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Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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