Still, buffs of either category of adventure will find this a pleasure.

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SHADOW DIVERS

THE TRUE ADVENTURE OF TWO AMERICANS WHO DISCOVERED HITLER’S LOST SUB

“Deep-shipwreck diving is among the world’s most dangerous sports.” So promises this well-paced tale of adventure on the high seas, which goes on to demonstrate the thesis in gruesome detail.

The “sport” of deep-shipwreck diving also promises riches to those fortunate enough to find doubloon-laden galleons or ingot-weighted steamers on the ocean floor, which adds to the competition and all-around sense of urgency. When a salvager named John Chatterton heard the tale, told to another boozy salvager by a boozy sailor, of an unidentified craft that lay in water less than 300 feet deep some 60 miles off the coast of New Jersey, he likely assumed that plenty of adventurers would be bearing down on the spot, especially when it turned out that the craft was a WWII–era German submarine: “A virgin sub—especially if it were a U-boat—would attract the attention of rival divers everywhere.” But, Chicago-based journalist and Esquire writer Kurson tells us, Chatterton and his crew managed to keep the location secret, having dispatched a singularly indiscreet and bibulous mate to say that they had discovered a U-boat one day, a merchantman the next, a warship the next, “until no one believed any bit of it.” Getting down to the ship was one thing, involving much dangerous work that took the life of an experienced diver—whereupon, Kurson writes, divers from all over requested a spot on the team—and fueled plenty of tensions. Discovering the identity of the craft was quite another, and Kurson’s account of how the divers determined which U-boat it was—until they did, they were calling it the U-Who—and why it ended up not far from the New York docks adds sizzle for those readers who are less interested in the minutiae of ocean-floor exploration than in good old Eye of the Needle/Hunt for Red October–style tales of derring-do.

Still, buffs of either category of adventure will find this a pleasure.

Pub Date: July 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-375-50858-9

Page Count: 366

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2004

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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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