A gung-ho, breezily entertaining study for lay readers.




An unabashedly admiring reappraisal of Douglas MacArthur (1880–1964) as supreme protector of a great fallen nation at the close of World War II.

Publishing around the same time as Mark Perry’s The Most Dangerous Man in America (2014), the pursuit of the many lives of the five-star general continues in this enthusiastic breakdown of MacArthur’s wildly successful five-year occupation of defeated Japan, a model to be followed and studied. Author and entrepreneur Morris (American History Revised: 200 Startling Facts that Never Made It into the Textbooks, 2010) believes the record regarding MacArthur’s administrative coup in helping Japan recover needs elucidation, from his initial decision to arrive in Japan unarmed for the surrender ceremony of Sept. 2, 1945, to his insistence on sparing Emperor Hirohito to his radical push for emancipating Japanese women. Above all, MacArthur was a keen student of history and modeled his magnanimity toward the vanquished Japanese on Gen. Ulysses Grant’s honorable treatment of Gen. Robert E. Lee, among other examples, hoping to gain trust in his new charges rather than instill fear and provoke alarm from reactionary elements. Hence his highly controversial decision to keep the emperor in power, although he was stripped of his godlike status: MacArthur recognized that the emperor could help “bring about a spiritual transformation of the Japanese people.” Moving swiftly as supreme commander on the orders of President Harry S. Truman yet with powers so vast that he was able to operate over the heads of the War Department, the general brought food to the starving people, neutralized the Japanese military, repatriated millions of Japanese troops and civilians, instituted land reform, kept the Russians at bay and implemented the “Nuremberg of the East” trials. Most astonishing was how MacArthur’s wily team managed to rewrite the Japanese Constitution—with codification of more sweeping rights for women than in any other country except Russia.

A gung-ho, breezily entertaining study for lay readers.

Pub Date: April 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-228793-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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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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