An amazing journey through adversity and desperation.

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THE CASTAWAY'S WAR

ONE MAN'S BATTLE AGAINST IMPERIAL JAPAN

A suspenseful recounting of the torpedoing of the USS Strong in the South Pacific in July 1943 and one soldier’s subsequent eluding of capture on the Japanese-held Solomon Islands.

An author who knows how to tell an exciting war story, 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.) delves into the incredible survival tale of Lt. Hugh Miller after the Strong was struck by a Japanese torpedo in a brief bombardment engagement in the Kula Gulf on July 5, 1943. The lethal engagement occurred during the American thrust to retake the Solomon Islands; Guadalcanal had been seized by the Americans in January, and the Strong was part of Task Group 36.1, whose mission was to create havoc in the Kula Gulf so that American forces could make an amphibious landing on New Georgia. As the ship went down, former college football star Miller was one of the last to vacate the ship. While a nearby ship picked up the rest of the crew, Miller and several others were blasted unconscious by the detonation of the sinking ship’s depth charges. Adrift on a floater net they had caught, the shipwrecked men washed ashore on Arundel Island a few days later, barely alive and suffering from oil ingestion, sunburn, and dehydration. From this point, Harding builds the suspense with intricate detail—and refreshingly, without, phony dialogue—of finding refuge, water, and food (coconuts) to sustain them, though several of the men died immediately. As their superior, and knowing he was severely wounded, Miller ordered the three survivors to take off toward New Georgia and leave him to die—or so he believed. However, Miller gained strength and used his hunting skills to avoid capture by the constantly patrolling Japanese; while hiding and prowling, he even collected intelligence as he prayed for rescue.

An amazing journey through adversity and desperation.

Pub Date: May 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-306-82340-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 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...

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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