An earnest, comprehensive account of British and American animal service in wartime.

WAR ANIMALS

THE UNSUNG HEROES OF WORLD WAR II

Hutton (Sgt. Reckless, 2014) collects the true tales of World War II’s gallant animal participants in this nonfiction work.

World War II produced heroes of all stripes, but as Hutton shows in this zoological volume, not all of them were human. The best-known animal soldiers were war dogs, drawn straight from the homes and farms of the American heartland: “Dogs for Defense recruited America’s first canine army, known affectionately as the K-9 Corps. Radio announcements and newspaper articles nationwide made the extraordinary pitch for people to donate their personal pets to the war effort.” These dogs served in all branches of the military as sentries, scouts, messengers, and even medics, quickly locating wounded soldiers on the battlefield. Hutton recounts stories about Chips—“the most highly decorated dog in U.S. military history”—a collie-shepherd-huskie mix who helped guard FDR and Churchill at Casablanca and later disabled a machine gun nest in Sicily. She includes tales of British dogs as well, like Bing, an Alsatian-collie mix that dropped into Normandy with the 13th Parachute Battalion on D-Day. While most of the animals covered in the book are dogs, there are also a number of pigeons, who served as messengers and spies and had wonderful names like Burma Queen, Lady Astor, and Wisconsin Boy. Horses were also used (primarily by the Coast Guard on America’s beaches), and mules served as pack animals in the war’s various theaters. Hutton even tells the story of a Royal Navy tomcat known as “Able Seaman” Simon who served with distinction during the postwar “Yangtze Incident” in China. Hutton’s prose is light and warm, just as one would expect in such a pet-centered book: “As a puppy, Peter—a beautiful Scotch collie born in 1941— was purchased for twenty-five shillings by Mrs. Audrey Stables of Birmingham, England. His path to glory was a surprising one.” This is a work meant for animal lovers, particularly those animal lovers who happen also to be WWII buffs. Younger readers may also enjoy these stories, which thankfully keep descriptions of death and violence to a minimum.

An earnest, comprehensive account of British and American animal service in wartime. 

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62157-658-7

Page Count: 466

Publisher: Regnery History

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 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...

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 clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

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WHY WE'RE POLARIZED

A sharp explanation of how American politics has become so discordant.

Journalist Klein, co-founder of Vox, formerly of the Washington Post, MSNBC, and Bloomberg, reminds readers that political commentators in the 1950s and ’60s denounced Republicans and Democrats as “tweedledum and tweedledee.” With liberals and conservatives in both parties, they complained, voters lacked a true choice. The author suspects that race played a role, and he capably shows us why and how. For a century after the Civil War, former Confederate states, obsessed with keeping blacks powerless, elected a congressional bloc that “kept the Democratic party less liberal than it otherwise would’ve been, the Republican Party congressionally weaker than it otherwise would’ve been, and stopped the parties from sorting themselves around the deepest political cleavage of the age.” Following the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, many white Southern Democrats became Republicans, and the parties turned consistently liberal and conservative. Given a “true choice,” Klein maintains, voters discarded ideology in favor of “identity politics.” Americans, like all humans, cherish their “tribe” and distrust outsiders. Identity was once a preoccupation of minorities, but it has recently attracted white activists and poisoned the national discourse. The author deplores the decline of mass media (network TV, daily newspapers), which could not offend a large audience, and the rise of niche media and internet sites, which tell a small audience only what they want to hear. American observers often joke about European nations that have many parties who vote in lock step. In fact, such parties cooperate to pass legislation. America is the sole system with only two parties, both of which are convinced that the other is not only incompetent (a traditional accusation), but a danger to the nation. So far, calls for drastic action to prevent the apocalypse are confined to social media, fringe activists, and the rhetoric of Trump supporters. Fortunately—according to Klein—Trump is lazy, but future presidents may be more savvy. The author does not conclude this deeply insightful, if dispiriting, analysis by proposing a solution.

A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4767-0032-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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