An unsympathetic exploration of Israel's expansionist movements, by Village Voice staff-writer Friedman (The False Prophet, 1990). The author builds his case against the West Bank settlement policy of the recently defeated Likud government and its supporters through the words, pro and con, he recorded in interviews with settlers, government officials, Peace Now land-for-peace proponents, Arab villagers, and US Zionists. Friedman offers a picture of unjust Jewish expropriation of Arab lands, and of terrorism carried out by Jewish fanatics, while Arab actions such as the Intifada are seen as natural reactions to Jewish aggression. His chief villain is the Kach party of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, which pushes for a nation that's free of Arabs and that includes all of biblical Israel within its borders. Another villain is Rabbi Moshe Levinger, who is associated with Makhteret, which Friedman describes as a terrorist group responsible for attacks on Arab mayors supporting the PLO and for planning the demolition of the Dome of the Rock mosque, Islam's third holiest site. Also drawing Friedman's fire is the Ateret Cohanim, an ultrareligious group that aspires to turn all of Jerusalem into a Jewish city. And, of course, there is the Gush Emunim, which insists on the right of Jews to settle anywhere in Judea and Samaria (i.e., the Occupied Territories). If there is one group of West Bank settlers with whom Friedman sympathizes, it's the educated ÇmigrÇs from the US who have come to Israel with the aim of adding meaning to their lives while at the same time strengthening Israel's borders: ``It is difficult,'' Friedman says of them, ``to write about people whose politics one abhors yet who in other respects are fundamentally decent.'' Friedman's sympathies and hopes clearly lie with the aims associated with the Peace Now movement. But considering the depth of feeling on all sides exposed by his research, one wonders how peace will ever reign in Israel.

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 1992

ISBN: 0-394-58053-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1992

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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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