A suspenseful, well-wrought account of battling ships at sea and grave wartime conditions.

THE IRON SEA

HOW THE ALLIES HUNTED AND DESTROYED HITLER'S WARSHIPS

Blow-by-blow account of the Allied battles against four potent German warships that “posed a mortal threat to Britain’s survival, killers ready to sever the nation’s vital arteries to its empire and the United States.”

Early on in his latest well-told military tale, versatile historian Read notes the seemingly endless frustration caused by the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Bismarck, and Tirpitz, with Winston Churchill lamenting, “Besides the constant struggle with the U-boats…surface raiders had already cost us over three-quarters of a million tons of shipping.” Strategically situated in the harbor at Brest, France, the ships gave the Germans a significant advantage, allowing them to "wreak bloody havoc" on the Allied convoys carrying necessary supplies. In addition to their imposing armor and artillery, they were swift and elusive. “With a top speed each of 31 knots,” writes the author, “they were faster than any British ship. First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill, well aware of this fact, deemed them ‘targets of supreme consequence.’ ” Indeed, as Read points out in this exciting narrative, the destruction caused by these four ships “would become Churchill’s obsession.” Catching them as they moved toward Norway and the Baltic shipping waters would cost the British dearly—e.g., the May 1941 sinking of the Hood, “the pride of the Royal Navy,” which killed all but three of the 1,418 crew aboard. In addition to the pulse-pounding narrative of the ships in battle, including profiles of the many sailors who lost their lives on both sides, Read demonstrates the big-picture importance of the Battle of the Atlantic in helping sustain Britain's heavily rationed population and its war machine with food, equipment, and raw materials. The success in “securing the Atlantic sea lanes” was crucial to victories in subsequent battles.

A suspenseful, well-wrought account of battling ships at sea and grave wartime conditions.

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-306-92171-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Hachette

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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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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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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