A convincing and shockingly relevant, case study of official and technological immorality. (62 b&w photos, 7 maps)

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THE UNITED STATES AND BIOLOGICAL WARFARE

SECRETS FROM THE EARLY COLD WAR AND KOREA

An expose of a little-known and shameful episode in American military history.

Much has been made of the fact that the Japanese military during World War II resorted to the use of biological and chemical weapons, in violation of international law. Asian history specialist Endicott and military historian Hagerman, both professors at York University (Canada), together reveal that immediately after WWII, the US army picked up where the Japanese military left off, using testing facilities in Yokohama and Kyoto to find ways of turning plague, cholera, anthrax, undulant fever, encephalitis, salmonella, meningitis, typhus, and tularemia against the newfound Communist enemy. Lt. General Yujiro Wakamatsu, commander of the notorious Unit 100, which tested biological weapons on Chinese prisoners during WWII, found work as a research scientist in the principal American laboratory; so did many other Japanese scientists granted immunity for their wartime crimes. In 1952, the Chinese premier Zhou Enlai accused the US of conducting biological warfare in Korea—of dropping bombs, for instance, “containing live insects of various descriptions and rotten fish, decaying pork, frogs, and rodents.” Drawing on recently declassified documents, the authors lend credence to Zhou’s charge, which the US denied at the time. (Among other things cited here is an approving letter of 1953 from President Harry S. Truman suggesting “that had the war in the Pacific not ended by mid-August 1945, [Truman] would have used biological as well as chemical weapons.”) A number of villains turn up in Endicott and Hagerman’s fast-paced narrative, among them key figures in American defense, pharmaceutical, medical, and intelligence circles; sadly, there are no heroes to match them.

A convincing and shockingly relevant, case study of official and technological immorality. (62 b&w photos, 7 maps)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-253-33472-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Indiana Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1998

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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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