With high tension and as many plot twists as any fictional thriller, this book is hard to put down.




A step-by-step history of the Israeli army’s 1976 rescue of hostages at Entebbe airport in Uganda.

David (Military History/Univ. of Buckingham; 100 Days to Victory: How the Great War Was Fought and Won, 2013, etc.) draws on a wide range of sources to give a detailed picture of the hijacking and the top-secret operation that returned almost all the hostages to safety. The drama began with Air France Flight 139 departing Tel Aviv for Paris. At a stopover in Athens, four terrorists boarded the plane, seized control, and diverted it to Uganda. They demanded the release of prisoners, mostly Palestinians, held by Israel and several other countries. David shows the hostages’ ordeal, the meetings of the Israeli cabinet and military leaders, and the international response to the event, spread out over eight tense days. His sources include interviews with the hostages and their rescuers, official documents, memoirs by several of those involved, and declassified government communications. The narrative gains interest by the roles of several international figures, including Israeli leaders Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin, and the sinister Ugandan president Idi Amin, who is as much the villain of the story as the hijackers. The rescue wasn’t perfect by any means; the plan broke down shortly after Israeli forces landed at the airport. Their commander, Yoni Netanyahu (the current prime minister’s brother), was killed almost immediately. His troops killed the terrorists and a number of Ugandan soldiers. Three hostages died of friendly fire; a fourth, taken to a local hospital before the raid, was later murdered by Amin’s thugs. David paces the narrative effectively, cutting back and forth among Entebbe, Tel Aviv, and Israeli military establishments with occasional looks at events in other world capitals. While the “good guys” and “bad guys” are obvious from the beginning, the author resists the temptation to paint too simple a picture.

With high tension and as many plot twists as any fictional thriller, this book is hard to put down.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-316-24541-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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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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