HELL ABOVE EARTH

THE INCREDIBLE TRUE STORY OF AN AMERICAN WWII BOMBER COMMANDER AND THE COPILOT ORDERED TO KILL HIM

The riveting true story of a World War II bomber pilot and the co-pilot who received orders to kill him.

At the beginning of the war, U.S. pilot Werner Goering was “an exceptional pilot” whose “nerves of steel, combined with his unwavering ability to make split-second decisions, saw his crew safely home, mission after grueling mission.” However, writes Sarasota Herald-Tribune staffer Frater, he was also the nephew of Hitler’s right-hand man and head of the Luftwaffe, Hermann Goering. As a national-security precaution, FBI officials ordered his experienced co-pilot, Jack Rencher, to kill him if their B-17 was going down over Nazi territory. In addition to examining the friendship that developed between the two, the author packs the narrative with rapid-fire history and statistics about the 303rd Bomb Group, the growth of the U.S. Air Force and the overall tenor of the war. Frater captures the strength, fear and bravery of Goering and Rencher's crew, but never fully explains the details of the men's lives. The narrative is more a factual recounting of Goering's career, which began as an untrusted pilot and continued for more than 20 years as a risk-taking spy during the Cold War, ending at a desk in the Pentagon. After the twists and turns in Goering's many missions, Frater finishes with a stunning revelation. Despite occasional repetition, the author delivers an exciting read full of little-known facts about the war.

A WWII thrill ride.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-61792-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 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 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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