Here, Thompson (Pledge to Destiny: Charles de Gaulle and the Rise of the Free French, 1974; Foreign Policy/Univ. of South Carolina) argues that FDR, greatly exceeding his executive powers, led a depressed, militarily weak, and traditionally isolationist America into WW II by forcing Germany and Japan to go to war with us. Thompson's extensive research convincingly builds a vast mosaic revealing a startling picture of America's largely secret cold war with Japan (and later Germany), waged many years before the Pearl Harbor attack. The author documents how FDR broke neutrality laws, made secret loans and treaties to belligerents, and set embargoes to strangle Japan even as he seems to have lied to and manipulated his people, whom he believed to be in danger. Thompson apparently has found early 1941 American plans to firebomb Japanese cities, factories, and ships; and evidence both that FDR hoped to provoke war with Germany by the bold patrols of US ships in Atlantic convoys, and that warnings of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor were ignored in high places (it seems OSS chief Donovan had a British warning of an immediate Japanese attack; archives show that Donovan was with FDR one hour before Japan struck). Thompson records the deadly menace of Japan's aggressiveness in China, and of its intention to destroy European and American power in the Far East—to conquer all Pacific islands including the Philippines. FDR, the author shows, was alert to the Axis threat, and so led his country out of a dangerous isolationism—albeit by desperate means. Provocative revisionist history that could stimulate a widespread reevaluation of the traditional view of why America entered WW II. (Twenty-five b&w photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: July 26, 1991

ISBN: 0-13-653338-8

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Prentice Hall

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1991

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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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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.



Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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