Action-packed descriptions of modern air combat combined with detailed tactical analysis: an intriguing account for general...




Former Air Force officer Wilcox (Wings of Fury, 1997, etc.) depicts the aerial teamwork and harrowing exploits of the Navy’s Black Aces squadron during the 1999 air war over Kosovo.

Fighter pilots in modern warfare need tactical savvy as well as bravery, the author reminds us in this insider’s account. Interviewing pilots aboard the aircraft carrier USS Roosevelt as the Kosovo conflict was winding down, he learned that many of the Navy’s young pilots began their tour without the type of combat experience necessary to face the sophisticated armaments of an ex-Soviet bloc country. According to Wilcox, this lack of experience confronted the Black Aces with two initial problems: young pilots failed to use their equipment properly in the heat of battle, and naval planners had no effective plan for engaging Serbian ground combat forces. His interviews clearly chronicle how the pilots quickly developed techniques for dodging surface-to-air missiles while simultaneously raining smart bombs upon strategic Serbian command posts. The narrative also captures the naval officers’ innovative solution for acquiring timely intelligence about well-camouflaged and highly mobile ground forces: right before an air strike, they sent out dangerous low-altitude missions with state-of-the-art imaging systems. As interesting as the author makes the Kosovo air campaign’s history sound, he grips the reader most with his portrayal of the close-knit community of fighter pilots. By the time Wilcox describes the Black Aces’ successful decimation of enemy armored columns at the campaign’s end, he has transformed the aviators from Top Gun clones into brave individuals overcoming tremendous challenges.

Action-packed descriptions of modern air combat combined with detailed tactical analysis: an intriguing account for general readers as well as valuable for military specialists.

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2002

ISBN: 0-312-26916-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 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...


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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