A solid chronicle for World War II reference collections.




A British historian’s look at one of the less-familiar actions on the European front in World War II.

Cross (The Battle of the Bulge: Hitler’s Last Hope, 2014, etc.) begins in the war’s early years, when it became clear that the United States would join its European allies to roll back the German conquests. But while the broad principle was clear enough, Winston Churchill thought the attack should go through the Balkans while the Americans and the Soviets argued for southern France. In consequence, the invasion, originally scheduled for right after the Normandy landings in June, was delayed until mid-August, when British, American, and French forces came ashore near St. Tropez on the Mediterranean coast. At first, opposition was minimal; the Germans’ main forces were already committed in the north and in Russia. Eventually, American forces, trying to cut off the German line of retreat, went through tough battles near the towns of Valence and Lyon. In the end, they reached the German border, though much battered, and the Allied armies joined up for the final push into the enemy homeland. Cross enlivens the story with colorful anecdotes, such as the tale of American soldiers following what they thought was one of their own tanks on a nighttime patrol only to discover at daylight that it was a German Panzer. The author also highlights many interesting characters, notably Audie Murphy, one of the most decorated American soldiers of the war. Cross gives detailed accounts of the units engaged in each action, with plentiful quotes from the commanders on both sides. But while the details of all the units that took part in each skirmish will fascinate many military history buffs, they will put off more casual readers. Readers without an intimate knowledge of French geography may need to supplement their reading with a detailed map; the maps included in the volume don’t show some frequently mentioned sites, such as Dijon.

A solid chronicle for World War II reference collections.

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68177-860-0

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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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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