A detailed, well-researched book presented in a logical fashion—will appeal most to Pearl Harbor scholars and those...




The story of the first ship sunk by a Japanese submarine that demonstrates the careful planning and remarkable success of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

In 1940, the Cynthia Olson was acquired by the Olson Steamship Company and ran coastal service from Portland to Los Angeles. As war approached, the company won an Army Transportation Services contract to ship lumber, and eventually the ship was certified for service on the open ocean, which allowed for runs to Hawaii, where the United States was building in anticipation of the coming conflict. Though Military History editor-in-chief Harding (Last to Die: A Defeated Empire, a Forgotten Mission, and the Last American Killed in World War II, 2015, etc.) is fond of cliffhanger endings that eventually outstay their welcomes, he narrates an interesting tale. The captain and first mate on the fateful Dec. 7, 1941, voyage were experienced, but it seems to have made little difference. When the Japanese submarine surfaced and fired a shot across the bow, the intent was to humanely allow the crew to escape before the ship was sunk. The captain, a World War I veteran, knew just what was expected. He cut his engines, and after a second shot from the sub, he put his crew into lifeboats, and they rowed as far away from the ship as possible. It seems like a simple enough story, but Harding explores three crucial questions. First, did the sub captain truly wait to fire on the Cynthia Olson until the attack on Pearl Harbor was underway? Second, would knowledge of this attack have enabled a better defense with even an hour notice? Third, what really happened to the crew? The author traces facts that were discovered years—even decades—after the event, uncovers interviews with the Japanese captain and crew, and comes up with a number of intriguing scenarios.

A detailed, well-researched book presented in a logical fashion—will appeal most to Pearl Harbor scholars and those interested in submarine warfare.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-306-82503-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Da Capo

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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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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A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

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A sharp explanation of how American politics has become so discordant.

Journalist Klein, co-founder of Vox, formerly of the Washington Post, MSNBC, and Bloomberg, reminds readers that political commentators in the 1950s and ’60s denounced Republicans and Democrats as “tweedledum and tweedledee.” With liberals and conservatives in both parties, they complained, voters lacked a true choice. The author suspects that race played a role, and he capably shows us why and how. For a century after the Civil War, former Confederate states, obsessed with keeping blacks powerless, elected a congressional bloc that “kept the Democratic party less liberal than it otherwise would’ve been, the Republican Party congressionally weaker than it otherwise would’ve been, and stopped the parties from sorting themselves around the deepest political cleavage of the age.” Following the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, many white Southern Democrats became Republicans, and the parties turned consistently liberal and conservative. Given a “true choice,” Klein maintains, voters discarded ideology in favor of “identity politics.” Americans, like all humans, cherish their “tribe” and distrust outsiders. Identity was once a preoccupation of minorities, but it has recently attracted white activists and poisoned the national discourse. The author deplores the decline of mass media (network TV, daily newspapers), which could not offend a large audience, and the rise of niche media and internet sites, which tell a small audience only what they want to hear. American observers often joke about European nations that have many parties who vote in lock step. In fact, such parties cooperate to pass legislation. America is the sole system with only two parties, both of which are convinced that the other is not only incompetent (a traditional accusation), but a danger to the nation. So far, calls for drastic action to prevent the apocalypse are confined to social media, fringe activists, and the rhetoric of Trump supporters. Fortunately—according to Klein—Trump is lazy, but future presidents may be more savvy. The author does not conclude this deeply insightful, if dispiriting, analysis by proposing a solution.

A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4767-0032-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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