BAND OF BROTHERS

E COMPANY, 506TH REGIMENT, 101ST AIRBORNE FROM NORMANDY TO HITLER'S EAGLE'S NEST

With his multivolume biographies of Eisenhower and Nixon now complete, Ambrose (History/Univ. of New Orleans) returns to military affairs (Pegasus Bridge, 1985, etc.) with this spirited account of one of the Army's crack WW II units. The 101st Airborne was "the most famous and admired of all the eighty-nine divisions the United States Army put in the Second World War," Ambrose notes. One unit in the "Screaming Eagles," Easy Company, was an elite group of paratroopers, self. confident survivors of a grueling physical regimen, adept in the use of weapons, and ready to fight for each other to the death. Ambrose traces how the group's esprit de corps was molded in boot camp under a martinet commander, then at Normandy's Utah Beach, in the disappointing Arnhem campaign in the Netherlands, in the Battle of the Bulge, and in the triumphant liberation of Hitler's Bavarian lair. Ambrose's writing style has all the elegance of a Sherman tank, but it really doesn't matter: the story of this company is riveting. The author captures many of the representative moments in a WW II soldier's career: the fear that, under some of the most intense shelling of the war, one may he approaching a breaking point; the suffering of freezing overnight in a foxhole while going hungry and without a bath in days; the elation of survival and success; disgust with commanders either inept or arbitrary; and a sense of brotherhood like that felt with nobody else in life. Hard-nosed, yet ultimately a celebration of grace under pressure in "the Good War."

Pub Date: June 1, 1992

ISBN: 074322454X

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1992

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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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