A brief look at what may surely be a historic class in American educational history—a subject worthy of deeper exploration.



The inaugural class of the first Islamic college in America share their hopes and dreams with a visiting journalist.

NYU instructor Korb (Life in Year One: What the World Was Like in First-Century Palestine, 2010, etc.) respectfully dogged the dozen or so students, founding teachers and imams of the fledgling Zaytuna College during the course of its first year in 2010-2011 as it drew closer to accreditation, balanced a curriculum between classical and modern teachings, and navigated a complex mission of educating Muslims in America. Attracting a startling diversity of Muslims, reflecting essentially the American makeup, Zaytuna (“olive,” named for the fruit that requires curing by human hands before being palatable and whose oil “offers light without fire”) was originally a Muslim seminary located in Hayward, Cal., since the mid-1990s, started by Sheikh Hamza Yusuf and Imam Zaid Shakir and others and originally modeled on a traditional Islamic madrassa. Evolving over time to encompass a permanent four-year college, Zaytuna embarked on a particularly precarious mission in the wake of a recent spate of Muslim violence (e.g., Fort Hood) to embrace a pious Muslim identity while finding “the good in the principles of American liberal arts.” Korb discovered that this was a difficult task, especially since most students hadn’t a clue how to pray or speak Arabic. Moreover, the bias against Muslims still simmered since 9/11, and suspicions about Muslims’ true loyalties in America were rampant. The charismatic directors maintained a high, idealistic approach to education, and they reminded skeptics that Harvard, Yale and Princeton all began as religious schools. In a blandly detailed narrative, Korb confronts the criticism lobbed continuously at the college around attitudes of Muslim allegiance, jihad and indoctrination.

A brief look at what may surely be a historic class in American educational history—a subject worthy of deeper exploration.

Pub Date: April 16, 2013

ISBN: 978-0807001639

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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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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Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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