An engaging human story of the complicated and fraught relationship between the French and their American allies.




A poignant World War II saga of the relationship between an American gunner shot down over France and the French family who helped him.

In his latest, Military History editor-in-chief Harding (Dawn of Infamy: A Sunken Ship, a Vanished Crew, and the Final Mystery of Pearl Harbor, 2016, etc.) tells the story of Joe Cornwall, who was part of the joint American and British group targeting Le Bourget airport near Paris on Bastille Day 1943. A horrendous collision sent Cornwall and some other survivors parachuting into the French countryside to spend months evading capture by the Germans. By a remarkable stroke of luck—and the help of kindly French people—Cornwall and a few of his buddies were directed to the shelter of the concierges of the famed Hôtel des Invalides in Paris, the home of invaluable works of art as well as famous tombs such as that of Napoleon. In the vast subterranean maze of the hotel, Georges Morin, a disabled veteran of World War I with a hatred for the Germans—along with his wife, Denise, and adult daughter, Yvette—sheltered several of the Allied soldiers. Harding gradually builds the suspense regarding the blossoming love between Cornwall and Yvette with nicely specific details of life in the Army and in occupied Paris. Eventually, the urgency of making the “home run” back to base in England required most of the survivors of the group to take the perilous route through Spain and the Pyrenees to Gibraltar. Ultimately, Cornwall did make the route home, somewhat later than his comrades, having secured an engagement with Yvette. Little did he know the perils that the Morins would face when they fell into the hands of the Gestapo.

An engaging human story of the complicated and fraught relationship between the French and their American allies.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-306-92216-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Da Capo

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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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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