All told, a thoughtful—and by no means dumbed-down—approach to events still very current.

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THE 9/11 REPORT

A GRAPHIC ADAPTATION

A comic book, utterly serious, documenting the attacks of September 11.

The horrendous events of that day may seem an odd choice for comic-panel treatment, but Jacobson and Colón—known to legions of fans for their longtime work at DC and Marvel Comics—are doing an honorable public service by putting the official report in a form that anyone can understand, through words or not. The project is fraught with peril; as drawn, for instance, Ronald Reagan looks more like Leonid Brezhnev than the Gipper, and it must have been daunting to reduce the carefully nonpartisan complexities of the report to a few frames depicting, say, Condoleezza Rice’s failure to grasp the meaning of actions on which she had been fully briefed, to say nothing of the president’s inaction. For all that, the captions pack a lot of punch. Reads one, “Little effort in the legislative branch was made to consider an integrated policy toward terrorism. All committees found themselves swamped in the minutiae of the budget process, with little time for the consideration of longer-term questions.” The point is well-taken, even as Osama bin Laden’s eyes glower from the page. The graphics are meaningful as well, and some of them, such as the depiction of Afghan leader Ahmed Shah Massoud’s last moments, are, well, quite graphic. The book includes the 9/11 Commission’s sober determination that the invasion of Iraq was based on anecdotal evidence at best, as well as its recommendations that since so much of the US infrastructure is in private hands, the government would do well to integrate civilians into emergency planning. The most telling moment here comes at the end, and here the graphic treatment is exactly right: It depicts the Commission’s “report card” on the administration’s response to its findings, with an average grade of D.

All told, a thoughtful—and by no means dumbed-down—approach to events still very current.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-8090-5738-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Hill and Wang/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2006

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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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