A well-drawn political history of FDR’s last days.

FINAL VICTORY

FDR'S REMARKABLE WORLD WAR II PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN

Historian Weintraub (Pearl Harbor Christmas: A World at War, December 1941, 2011, etc.) looks at an ailing President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s last campaign.

In 1944, Roosevelt was in very poor health, plagued by a heart condition, high blood pressure and exhaustion. He was noticeably gaunt and sickly, drawing concerned comments from those close to him, and even from the press. But with World War II still raging overseas, he chose to run for an unprecedented fourth term, even if it was likely that he wouldn’t live to see the end of it. In this well-researched, engaging history, Weintraub effectively brings the players to life, portraying the public and private faces of the witty, indomitable FDR and his opponent, the stiff, humorless New York Gov. Thomas E. Dewey. Dewey mounted a tough campaign, claiming that “the New Deal was the beginning of a Communist ‘corporate state.’ ” He even considered accusing Roosevelt publicly of not acting on advance warning of the Pearl Harbor attacks; he was only dissuaded from doing so by Gen. George Marshall, who warned that such an accusation would endanger the ongoing war effort. He largely stayed away from exploiting Roosevelt’s illness during the campaign, although the Chicago Tribune warned that “a vote for Roosevelt is very likely to be a vote for [vice-presidential candidate Harry] Truman for President.” (Truman would in fact become president when Roosevelt died of a brain hemorrhage, just months into his fourth term.) Weintraub shows how Roosevelt, despite his illness, was still a force to be reckoned with. He continued to give dazzling speeches and enjoyed loyal support from many constituencies, including soldiers still at war, who voted absentee for FDR in large numbers.

A well-drawn political history of FDR’s last days.

Pub Date: July 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-306-82113-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Da Capo

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2012

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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 Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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