THE THREAT AT HOME

CONFRONTING THE TOXIC LEGACY OF THE U.S. MILITARY

Boston science-journalist Shulman hammers away at the US military establishment's abysmal handling of deadly waste—an extensively researched exposÇ certain to enlighten and frighten all who have the Armed Forces or the Department of Energy as neighbors. By studying specific circumstances and sites across the country, Shulman brings home the vast, multifaceted extent of the crisis: Within the Rocky Mountain Arsenal outside of Denver, for example, he saw, in 1988, ``Basin F''—a glowing, unlined lake of toxic sludge; the next year, in central California, a barn was found filled from floor to ceiling with abandoned, leaking drums of toxic and explosive materials that were traced back to the military; today, on the Hanford Reservation in central Washington State, lies a ``burial garden'' of leaking underground tanks filled with high-level radioactive waste in which explosive gases are building. Such horror stories seem endless, with 25,000 toxic military sites now suspected nationwide, not including land no longer under Pentagon jurisdiction. The halting, redundant, hugely expensive, and largely ineffective steps in recent years by Army, Navy, and Air Force officials to begin a cleanup, and their long- standing resistance to warning those citizens most at risk, receive full consideration here, with the ultimate message being that, while evidence of improvement exists, current efforts, coming after decades of indiscriminate dumping, won't stop the spreading plumes of toxic contaminants from reaching aquifers and local wells. An activist's handbook complete with legal appendices and lists of waste sites, but much, much more: This is a clear and concise condemnation of practices and attitudes in the last bastion of unregulated environmental destruction in America.

Pub Date: May 15, 1992

ISBN: 0-8070-0416-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Beacon

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1992

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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 PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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