WHEN THE STARS WENT TO WAR

HOLLYWOOD AND WORLD WAR II

Nostalgia reigns in this account of how the film industry responded to WW II. Hoopes (Ralph Ingersoll, 1985, etc.), Washington bureau chief of Modern Maturity, has written extensively on the ``good old days,'' and his latest effort is in the same vein of mildly revisionist memorabilia. Even before the start of the war, some members of of Hollywood's acting community—notably the British and progressive-minded Jews—were already alert to the dangers posed by the Nazis, and it is with these farsighted individuals that Hoopes begins his chronicle. Vienna-born actor Helmut Dantine, for example, spent three months in a concentration camp as a result of his anti-Nazi activism before coming to America. After Pearl Harbor, however, the entire filmmaking community pitched in eagerly with bond drives, USO tours, and enlistments. ``In many ways, World War II was Hollywood's finest hour,'' Hoopes asserts. ``Just about every male star not in the service went on at least one USO tour; among actresses, participation was close to 100 percent.'' (A notable exception was Greta Garbo.) Although the reaction of the industry to the war is a potentially fascinating story, and Hoopes has some splendid anecdotes, this book suffers from a warmed-over feeling. The first and biggest problem is Hoopes's working method: By his own admission, the entire book was gleaned from secondary sources, most of them movie-star autobiographies—not notably reliable sources of information. As a result, where two reports of events conflict, Hoopes merely repeats both versions and leaves it to readers to decide who is telling the truth; and where a star is not forthcoming about his war record, Robert Montgomery for instance, Hoopes offers silence. This is just lazy reporting. Finally, although the book is organized in a loose chronology, it has no real structure, and meanders aimlessly, if amiably, from anecdote to anecdote. A disappointing failure to explore a rich topic.

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 1995

ISBN: 0-679-41423-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1994

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2020

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

more