A glorious medley celebrating heroes of yesteryear's aerial wars, compiled and annotated by the author of Flight of the Intruder (1986), etc. Coonts scoured the voluminous annals of military aviation, from WW I through Vietnam, collecting more than two dozen pieces detailing varied aspects of combat aloft. Predictably, he has excerpted the autobiographies of such storied American airmen as Eddie Rickenbacker, Ted Lawson, Robert L. Scott, and Gregory (Pappy) Boyington. No chauvinist, Coonts makes room for short takes recounting the airborne adventures of British (Ginger Lacey, Bob Tuck), German (Adolf Galland, Erich Hartmann), and Japanese (Saburo Sakai) aces (i.e., fliers with five or more kills). While dashing fighter pilots dominate the roster, bomber commands are also represented—most notably, by a somber recital that follows Paul Tibbets on his flight in a B-29 called Enola Gay to a rendezvous with history over Hiroshima. Also making the cut are the typically reckless souls at the control of helicopters that gave American soldiers unprecedented mobility in Southeast Asia and those who flew heavily armed Skyraiders on ground-support missions during the Korean conflict. In addition, Coonts (who contributes an essay on Steve Ritchie, the last US fighter pilot to gain five victories) rescues some genuine treasures from undeserved obscurity. One such is the vivid account of how in 1915 a young Royal Navy pilot became the first of his breed to shoot down a zeppelin. Fault-finders could carp that the anthology ignores the Russian women whose courage under fire in the skies above WW II's Eastern front came as a rude shock to the Luftwaffe, as well as their American sisters, who braved the Atlantic to ferry badly needed aircraft from US factories to Europe. This cavil apart, a generous selection of martial aeronautica, and an ad hoc history of the way of the warrior pilot.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-671-88190-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1996

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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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